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India to Send Utility Helicopter Unit to UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali

India has decided to send a utility helicopter unit to the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Bangladesh and Pakistan, each, will also send an armed helicopter unit to this operation.

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What The UN Said:

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s Spokesperson Farhan Haq said, that the utility helicopter unit from India that is to be deployed in March will “provide much-needed support to our forces and are critical for early warning and rapid response to protect civilians”.

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.

What is Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali:

  • The Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) is a United Nations peacekeeping mission that was set up in 2013 by the UNSC to stabilize the western African country after the 2012 Tuareg rebellion.
  • This mission was set up to assist in the political processes of Mali and undertake numerous security-related tasks within the conflict-hit country. It is tasked with supporting the transitional authorities of Mali in achieving the political stabilization and implementing the transitional roadmap.
  • In 2014, the UNSC expanded the scope of the mission to ensure security for the citizens, supporting national political dialogue and reconciliation, assisting in the re-establishment of state authority, and protecting human rights in the country.

India’s role in MINUSMA?

India currently does not have troops deployed with MINUSMA. However, 18 Indians worked with it as of September this year. It is currently planning on deploying a utility helicopter unit that will provide assistance in early warning and rapid response to protect civilians.

Hurdles Faced by the Mission?

Since its launch, MINUSMA has become the most dangerous peacekeeping mission of the UN. It has caused the deaths of 292 peacekeepers till date. Besides MINUSMA, there are two other international peace operations in Mali. These are the EU’s  EUCAP Sahel Mali and EUTM Mali missions.

Several countries are currently pulling out of the MINUSMA because of the high fatality rate. France and Egypt have completed their troop withdrawal in the early 2022. Germany announced that it will be withdrawing its 595 personal by May 2023. Britain is also planning to pull out its 249 personnel from this mission. Ivory Coast has also announced the withdrawal of its 898 personnel after the current deployment ends because of its dispute with the Mali government over the arrest of its personnel who went on a mission not related to the United Nations.

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