India to send helicopter unit to UN peacekeeping mission in Mali

United Nations:  India will send a helicopter unit to the UN peacekeeping operations in Mali, which is facing with a crisis as several countries have withdrawn or announced plans to withdraw from it, according to a UN spokesperson.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s Spokesperson Farhan Haq said on Wednesday that the utility helicopter unit from India that is to be deployed in March will “provide much-needed support to our forces and are critical for early warning and rapid response to protect civilians”.

Bangladesh and Pakistan will each be sending an armed helicopter unit to the operation known as Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

India does not have troops deployed with MINUSMA, but 18 Indians worked with it as of September.

Haq added, “The UN continues to discuss with member states the deployment of new assets and plans to fill longer-standing gaps in addition to those resulting from recent announcements” of withdrawals.

MINUSMA, set up in 2013, has 17,622 personnel.

Several countries have pulled out of or announced plans to withdraw from the operations in Mali, where the government is battling Islamist terrorists.

MINUSMA is one of the deadliest operations having claimed the lives of 292 peacekeepers.

France completed its withdrawal earlier this year and it was followed by Egypt in August.

Germany said that it was withdrawing its personnel, who numbered 595 in the latest UN roster, from MINUSMA by May next year.

Britain is also pulling out its 249 personnel.

Ivory Coast also said that it would discontinue the participation of its personnel, who numbered 898, in MINUSMA when the current deployment ends because of a separate dispute with the Mali government over the arrest of its soldiers who went there on a mission unconnected to the UN.

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