India has always given a message of peace, unity and harmony to the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday, adding that its soldiers involved in United Nations’ peacekeeping missions are playing an important role in establishing world peace.
“India has always been giving a message of peace, unity and harmony to the world. We believe that everyone must live in peace and harmony and move ahead to carve a better and peaceful tomorrow,” he said in the 37th edition of his monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’.
“The brave peacekeepers from this land of Mahatma Gandhi and Gautam Budha have sent a message of peace and amity around the world,” he said, pointing India is the third largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping forces.
“Our soldiers play an important role not only on our borders but also in establishing peace the world over,” he said, adding more than 18,000 Indian security personnel have participated in UN Peacekeeping Operations and around 7,000 soldiers were currently involved in these missions.
Till August 2017, Indian soldiers had taken part in about 50 of the total 71 peacekeeping operations undertaken by the UN in countries including Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Congo, Cyprus, Liberia, Lebanon and Sudan.
“Indian security forces have not only saved people in various countries but also won their hearts with their people friendly operations,” said Modi, pointing out that in Congo and Southern Sudan, more than 20,000 patients were treated in Indian Army hospitals “and countless lives were saved”.
He also remembered contributions soldiers like Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria, who laid down his life while fighting in Congo and was awarded a Param Vir Chakra posthumously, Lt Gen Dewan Prem Chand who served as Force Commander in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cyprus, Namibia and Zimbabwe, and former army chief General KS Thimayya, who was post retirement appointed as the Commander of UN Forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP), and died in harness.
Modi also said that India always stood for equal rights for women, and pointed out that in its initial phase, the UN Declaration of Human Rights was proposed as “all men are born free and equal” but this was later amended to “all human beings are born free and equal”, with the efforts of Indian representative Hansa Mehta.
Indian women have also played a “leading role” in UN operations and India was the first country to send a female police unit to Liberia, Modi said.
About his Diwali spent with soldiers in Guerz sector of Jammu and Kashmir, he said it was an “unforgettable” experience.
“Memories of Diwali celebrations with our security forces will remain cherished in my heart.
“I salute every soldier who guards the borders with utmost dedication and a spirit of sacrifice, braving all odds. Whenever we get a chance, we must try to know the experiences of our soldiers and listen to their tales of valour,” he added.