Kinshasa: India is the second largest troop contributor to the United Nations Organisation Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO). Indians comprise of 2,624 peacekeepers and 274 police personnel of the entire MONUSCO force deployed as of March 2019.

Indian peacekeepers garnered appreciation with the deployment of the first team of Indian female peacekeepers, who are aimed to serve as an inspiration to women of the Central African nation.

"The image of Indian peacekeepers in Congo is that of a highly competent, humane force that is very very professional. The Indian peacekeepers have been supporting our Congolese friends to have sustainable peace," a high-level Indian military officer deployed with the mission told PTI.

"Beginning in the 1960s, our contribution till date has not only been very very substantial but also very vital for the unification of Congo. All our humanitarian efforts and professionalism have drawn acclaim and respect locally as well as internationally," he added. 

The officer further stressed that till the time the Indian contingent is there, its role and effort will be to ensure that minimum number and if possible none at all, human rights violations take place. "We will try and ensure that peace prevails in the country," the officer added. 

Earlier this month, the Indian contingent welcomed the first set of 22 women peacekeepers from India, who began their induction into the mission from June 5.

A young lady officer said, "Women broaden the skills available on the ground. Women of the host country are empowered by the presence of women who are in peacekeeping operations. Young girls and women see us as role models. They can push for their rights in a male-dominated society and be a greater part of the peace process.”

Emphasising that peace is the pivot, she expressed hope that DRC goes on the path of economic development for a peaceful future for its children.