Saturday, October 01, 2005

Indian troops leave to Sudan for UN peacekeeping mission

Once in a while, over the past year, news reports emerge from New Delhi saying troops from India are about to join the UN peacekeeping force in southern Sudan. Each time, the reports make mention of the troops having Chapter 7 mandate. Here below, if true, is some extraordinary (and good) news. [Please do not miss the 23 May 2005 report linked below]

News reports from India are now saying Indian Air Force troops left on Fri Sep 30 for the Sudan, after the UN Security Council extended the mandate for its mission for a further six months.

Western media is not yet reporting the story and no photos of the event appear to be online, so it is difficult to tell how much truth there is to this excerpt from Defence India Sep 30, 2005:
According to the Indian Asian News International (ANI) M. Bahadur, will lead the 10,000-strong Indian contingent. It carrying with it key medical equipment and choppers, because the Indian forces will largely be involved in logistic support.

"The contingent that is going there comes under chapter 7, which means peace enforcement as against peace keeping which is chapter six. Their role will be logistic support, troop induction, casualty evacuation, search and rescue and basic medical support," Bahadur said at an Air Force Base in New Delhi.
Also note, the article points out:
India has a strong economic presence in Sudan.

The Indian oil firm Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has a 25 percent stake in the Greater Nile Oil Project in Sudan and has interests in two exploration blocks.

In February this year, ONGC was awarded a contract to build a 1.2-billion-dollar oil refinery in Sudan, an African country bordering the Red Sea.

Sudan has also mandated ONGC to build a 200-million-dollar multi-product export pipeline from the Khartoum refinery to Port Sudan on the Red Sea, about 740 kilometres (460 miles) away.
Further reading:
30 Sep 2005 - India sends peace enforcement troops to Sudan

23 May 2005 - Bangladeshi Daily Star: Bangladeshi troops to leave for Sudan in peacekeeping mission. [in-depth with quotes from Gen Fazle Elahi Akbar, ie: "I have a mandate of 240 days to complete the deployment of 10,000 troops and already a month and a half have passed by with only the Nepalese contingent of little over 200 being in place."

Gen Fazle Elahi Akbar

Photo: Gen Fazle Elahi Akbar


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