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India to contribute helicopter unit to UN mission in Mali to maintain peace

India to contribute helicopter unit to UN mission in Mali to maintain peace

United Nations: According to a UN spokeswoman, India would contribute a helicopter unit to the UN peacekeeping operations in Mali, which are in crisis as a result of numerous countries' withdrawals from or plans to leave the mission.

Farhan Haq, the spokesperson for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, stated on Wednesday that the Indian utility chopper unit that will 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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TAGS:UN UN peacekeeper Mali 
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