Join Hands to Build a Smarter India: Sign in | Join now
News

Indian Air Force returns to Congo on U.N. peace mission

Tuesday, 01 July 2003, 00:00 Hrs
Print Email
NEW DELHI: More than 40 years after it played a key role in establishing peace in Congo, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to return to the troubled African nation as part of a U.N. peacekeeping mission.

A 250-strong contingent equipped with at least eight transport helicopters -- the largest team fielded by the IAF for an overseas deployment -- will leave here July 11 to join the U.N. mission in Congo, or MONUC, said defence ministry officials.

"The IAF was recently deployed for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Sierra Leone but this is our largest deployment so far," said an IAF official.

"The IAF contingent will be in Congo for a year."

The IAF contingent is expected to play a crucial role in humanitarian assistance programmes in the war-ravaged African nation, officials said.

This will be a marked change from the role the air force played in Congo in 1961-62, when its Canberra bombers were involved in combat operations against rebels in the breakaway province of Katanga.

The IAF had then sent six Canberra bombers along with a 150-member team following a U.N. request for armed troops and military aircraft to join the mission in Congo.

Indian soldiers were deployed in Katanga, where they were ambushed and attacked from the air by foreign mercenaries and Katangese rebels.

In a series of swift attacks, the IAF's Canberras destroyed the airbases and aircraft used by the rebels. They then mounted attacks on Katanga's capital, destroying communication centres and ammunition dumps, thereby weakening the position of the rebels.

But the IAF is taking no chances for its current deployment in Congo, where fighting between rival rebel and tribal factions is believed to have claimed between two million and 4.7 million lives.

This is the greatest loss of lives in a war since World War II, and IAF personnel have been strictly instructed to ensure that no one is exposed to any risk during operations in Congo.

The fighting has been fuelled by ethnic hatreds, competition for gold and other natural resources and intervention, both direct and indirect, by Congo's neighbours. Church leaders have even alleged that cannibalism is widespread

The U.N. mission is responsible for monitoring the implementation of a ceasefire agreement aimed at ending a five-year-old war, and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has suggested that MONUC's military strength be boosted to nearly 11,000 troops from the current ceiling of 8,700.

Source: IANS
Experts on SiliconIndia
Zafar  Ahmad
IT Project Manager
Infogain
Prakash  Kumar
Director IT
Delta Electronics In
Aakash  Mulchandani
Sr. Engg
Qualcomm
Siddharth  Sharma
Assistant Manager
Manipal
Guruprasad  Hegde
Founder and CEO
RealGuruu
Suresh  Avantsa
Founder
hubVirt Software
Chayan  Bhattacharjee
HR-Manager
TBG
Manoj Chandraprakash Powar
Managing Partner
Fountainhead
Sign Up for DailyDose and Read the Day's Highlights
Write your comment now
 
SiliconIndia About Us   |   Contact Us   |   Help   |   Community rules   |   Advertise with us   |   Sitemap   |  
News:       Technology   |   Enterprise   |   Gadgets   |   Startups   |   Finance   |   Business   |   Career   |   Magazine  |   Newsletter   |   News archive  
Cities:        CEO   |     Startup   |   Mobile   |   CIO   |   Women   |   BI   |   HR   |   SME   |   Cloud   |   Marketing   |   QA   |   Java   |   Web Developer  
Community:      Members   |   Blogs   |   Indian Entrepreneurs   |   Gyan   |   Advice   |   Community   |   Find   |   CXO Insights  
Job Board:      Jobs   |   Freshers   |   Companies   |   HR Speak   |   Forum  
Online Courses:   Web Developer   |   Java Developer   |   CCNA Training   |   SEO   |   SAS   |   SQL Server 2005   |   J2EE
Education:   MBA   |   MCA   |   Engineering   |   Training Institute
Life:          Real Estate   |   Travel   |   Finance   |   Gadgets   |   Movie Reviews   |    Jokes  
Send your feedback and help us continue to improve SiliconIndia
© 2014 InfoConnect Web Technologies India Pvt Ltd. all rights reserved