New Delhi: The army on Monday commemorated the 75th anniversary of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers by paying homage to the fallen soldiers at the National War Memorial here.
Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande laid a wreath at the NWM located near the India Gate, officials said.
The International Day of UN Peacekeepers observed on May 29 is an opportunity to recognise the service and sacrifice of the more than one million personnel who have served under the blue flag since 1948.
It is also a chance to honour the memory of the more than 4,000 peacekeepers who lost their lives in the cause of peace, the UN peacekeeping website says.
The first UN peacekeeping mission, 'UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO)' began operations in Palestine on this day in 1948, according to a statement issued by the Defence Ministry here.
The Vice Chief of Indian Army and representatives from the navy and the air force, Ministry of External Affairs and United Nations also laid wreaths at the memorial, officials said.
Each year on this day, the United Nations and countries across the globe pay tributes to the professionalism, dedication and courage of all men and women who have served or are serving in UN Peacekeeping Missions and honour the memory of those who have laid down their lives in the cause of peace.
This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the UN Peacekeepers Day, the statement said.
"India has a rich legacy of contribution to UN Peacekeeping operations and is one of the largest contributors of troops. It has contributed approximately 2,75,000 troops to peacekeeping missions so far, with around 5,900 troops currently deployed in 12 UN Missions," it said.
As many as 159 Indian Army soldiers have made the supreme sacrifice to ensure peace across the globe. Apart from the current deployment, India has pledged one Infantry Battalion Group and corvette with helicopter to be deployed at the behest of the UN, the statement said.
In keeping with the need for women peacekeepers in conflict areas under UN mandate, India has deployed Female Engagement Teams (FETs) in MONUSCO and UNISFA (the second largest women contingent after Liberia). India has also deployed Women Military Police in UNDOF and women staff officers / military observers in various missions, it added.
The Indian Army has established a Centre for UN Peacekeeping (CUNPK) in New Delhi to impart niche training in peacekeeping operations.
The Centre trains more than 12,000 troops every year. The CUNPK undertakes a multitude of activities from contingent training to national and international courses for potential peacekeepers and trainers. It also hosts foreign delegations as part of sharing best practices, officials said.
The centre regularly dispatches mobile training teams to friendly foreign countries as part of capacity building in the field of UN peacekeeping training. The institute has evolved in the two decades as a centre of excellence and repository of experience and best practices, they said.
In order to ensure the operational efficiency and sustainability of Indian contingents in UN missions, the Indian Army has deployed state-of-the-art equipment and vehicles. These vehicles and equipment are manufactured in India and have successfully withstood the vagaries of difficult terrain, weather and operational conditions in the mission areas, the statement said.
"India has been at the forefront of capacity development for the UN, host nations and partner nations. It has always strived to support UN initiatives by providing agile and flexible units, peacekeeper training, logistic support, enhancing gender parity and contributing to technological enhancements. India continues to provide active support for host nation capacity development by providing training, infrastructure development and Civil-Military Co-operation (CIMIC) activities," it said.