More than one million peacekeepers have served for peace under the UN flag, but they are not alone in the pursuit of peace. Peacekeeping is powered by strong and diverse partnerships. In this new series, we bring you the voices of peacekeepers and partners across the world, to mark the International Day of Peacekeepers, 29 May.
Original Reporting: Captain Deepak Kumar / Edited by: Maya Kelly & Urjasi Rudra
Captain Deepak Kumar from India served with UNIFIL, the peacekeeping mission in south Lebanon, as a 29-year-old military public information officer. In this story, he reflects on the partnership between the UN and troop-contributing countries and military cooperation that creates a vibrant melting pot of cultures, capabilities and skills that come together to make peacekeeping more effective. This interview was adapted from an original article authored by Captain Deepak Kumar.
“As a young army officer from India, when I joined the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL) as a military public information officer, I expected (different ways of) working, cultural divergences, and language barriers. This was my first time away from the familiarity of my battalion back in India.
However, within the first month of joining the mission, my perception about multi-national peacekeeping changed. I realized that all contingents were as professional and unique as the Indian army is. The work ethics and respect for customs and traditions of all peacekeepers representing different nationalities were unanimously acknowledged.
In UNIFIL’s Sector East multinational Brigade, peacekeepers from Spain, Nepal, Indonesia, India, El Salvador, Kazakhstan, Serbia and Brazil serve together. The cohesiveness and teamwork between them help us support host communities in maintaining the stability in the area for more than 14 years.
Strong partnerships and diversity strengthen peacekeeping operations.
The partnership between UNIFIL and its troop-contributing countries have set strong examples and created a melting pot of cultural vibrancy in the mission. (And that has helped us work even more effectively).
In recent years, governments have started promoting peacekeeping as a viable area of defence cooperation and diplomacy.
For example, Indian troops have partnered with Kazakh troops in UNIFIL, with the battalions of two countries coming together under the leadership of an Indian commanding officer. Countries participating in peacekeeping have engaged in multiple dialogues, joint military training and forums to promote the exchange of information and peacekeeping best practices.
I have learned a lot from the UNIFIL mission and made good friends and memories that will last a lifetime. I shall always remember and cherish the camaraderie, working with highly professional military personnel from different nationalities, united by the belief that peacekeeping contributes to global peace, stability, and security.”