By Santo D. Banerjee
NEW YORK (IDN) – For the first time in the history of Central Asia, a peacekeeping contingent from the Republic of Kazakhstan is participating in a UN peacekeeping operation. 120 Kazakh peacekeepers have arrived in Lebanon to participate in the mission of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
The peacekeeping operation will continue for 18 months.
The arrival of the Kazakh troops on October 31 brings the current number of the UNIFIL’s total military strength to some 10,600 men and women from 42 countries.
The first ever deployment of Kazakhstan’s contingent in the UN mission has been finalized during the time that Kazakhstan is serving as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, over the two-year term from January 2017 to December 2018.
In doing so, Kazakhstan is fulfilling its pledge that the country intends to expand its contribution to UN peacekeeping through dispatching military personnel who are well trained and have the required competence and capabilities for UN field missions in protracted and asymmetric conflict zones.
With due attention to ensuring the high level of preparedness of its troops, Kazakhstan has established the Partnership for Peace Training Centre (KAZCENT) that has already reached the highest international standards of training and is a member of the Partnership Training and Education Centres Community.
The UN has meanwhile initiated the process of evaluation of KAZCENT’s peacekeeping courses, and it is anticipated that their certification will add a great impetus to the development of peacekeeping capabilities not only of Kazakhstan but the entire Central Asian region.
Kazakh Major Ayan Nurkassov shakes hands with commanding Officer of the Indian Battalion, Colonel Jeevan B, on arriving at UNIFIL mission in south-eastern Lebanon.
Commanded by Major Ayan Nurkassov, the newly arrived peacekeepers have joined the existing Indian Battalion in Ibl al-Saqi, south-eastern Lebanon. Upon their arrival, Commanding Officer of the Indian Battalion, Colonel Jeevan B, extended a warm welcome. The troops also received operational orientation.
Col. Jeevan called it a “historic moment,” adding: “This has provided a great opportunity to both the Indian and Kazakh troops to join hands for performing the noble task of peacekeeping in Lebanon.”
Major Nurkassov said, “This is indeed a great opportunity for the Kazakhstan peacekeepers to contribute towards peace and stability in south Lebanon.”
The Kazakh peace troops are serving as part of the Indian-Kazakh Battalion (IND-KAZ BATT) in the aftermath of the pre-deployment training, specific to the UN mission in furthering peace in south Lebanon, which was carried out for the personnel of the Kazakh peace contingent, both in India and Kazakhstan, the latter by an Indian mobile training team. It is the first time for India to send the mixed forces to the UN mission.
The legal framework for the IND-KAZ co-deployment has been laid out in the Memorandum of Understanding between the Governments of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Republic of India on joint participation in the UNIFIL mission that has been ratified by Kazakhstan’s Parliament.
India and Kazakhstan established a strategic partnership in 2009 and their cooperation in the defence sector has strengthened over the last few years with programmes in military education and training, such as Youth Exchange Program (YEP) between cadet corps, as well as annual joint military exercises.
This year, military personnel from the two countries were involved in the third joint-military exercise KAZIND 2018 at Otar in the South of Kazakhstan from September 10-23. [IDN-InDepthNews – 05 November 2018]
Photo (top): Kazakh peace troops getting ready for UN mission in Lebanon. Credit: Kazakh Permanent Mission to the UN in New York.
Second photo: Kazakh Major Ayan Nurkassov shakes hands with commanding Officer of the Indian Battalion, Colonel Jeevan B, on arriving at UNIFIL mission in south-eastern Lebanon.
IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate.
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