An Indian Army officer posted with the Indian contingent in the United Nations Peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo has gone missing. Identified as Lieutenant Colonel Gaurav Solanki, he was one of the officers who went for a kayaking expedition in Lake Kivu on September 8. While all other officers returned to their base, he has been missing since afternoon that day. All efforts are being made to ensure that the officer is rescued. Sources informed Republic TV that speedboats and helicopters have also been deployed by the Army and UN Peacekeeping mission to locate and rescue the officer.
The headquarters of the Indian brigade in Congo is located at Goma, the capital of North Kivu province. Congo has the largest deployment of the Indian Army on foreign soil. The Indian contingent, also known as NKB covers an area of 43,000 sq km. It assists the UN Peacekeeping Mission in fighting against the local armed groups. Two years ago, 30 armed rebels launched an attack on the NKB causing a lot of casualties.
In the UN Peacekeeping efforts, India’s intake in terms of the number of troops is the third-largest in the world. The country’s role spans a period of 57 years covering 43 UN Peacekeeping missions, in which over 90,000 Indian soldiers have served in various parts of the world. India has sent battalion groups, engineers and medical teams to Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Lebanon, Ethiopia-Eritrea, Congo, Sudan, and Golan Heights. After Korea (1950-52) and Congo (1960-63), India again sent a brigade to Somalia and Congo displaying its commitment to help the international community maintain peace and security in the region. Many officers have been honoured by the Indian government for their stellar role in the Peacekeeping efforts.
(With ANI inputs)