India to withdraw helicopters from Congo mission

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - 14:31

United Nations: India is preparing to
withdraw its four remaining Mi-35 attack helicopters from the
Democratic Republic of Congo early next month after expiry of
its contract with the UN mission, a top Indian official here
has said.

Manjeev Singh Puri, India`s deputy ambassador to the UN
said that India needed its helicopters. "The contract has
ended," he said, adding, "We need them back for our own
use".

Puri also underlined the need for "more consultation"
with troop contributing countries about the mandate of
peacekeeping missions, which were getting more "complicated".

The Indian official added that there had been "some
movement on consultations" but it wasn`t enough.

"Details define the ability to deliver," he said.

The Turtle Bay blog on the Foreign Policy website
described the loss of helicopters as "depriving the UN of its
most vital military asset as the country heads into a landmark
presidential election".

"The Indian drawdown will deal a blow to the UN mission,"
the UN focused blog said, noting that France is about to
introduce a resolution that calls for greater role of
peacekeepers to protect civilians ahead of elections in DRC.

"India believes it is not accorded the respect it
deserves on the world stage, and thinks its reputation has
been tarnished in the Congo mission," it added.

Puri, however, insisted that India had already extended
the helicopters to stay for a couple of extra months at the
request of the UN.

He urged the UN to find the helicopters from other
countries.

"Please source it from somewhere else," he said, citing
South Africa and Ukraine as possibilities.

There are presently 19,995 uniformed personnel.

Among the South Asian countries troops have come from
India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal to the war-wracked
Central African nation.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - 14:31

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