In a pioneering initiative towards building a permanent monument at the U.N. headquarters in New York, India has launched a virtual memorial wall as a tribute to the U.N. peacekeeping heroes who died during their services since 1952.
India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Asoke Kumar Mukerji, unveiled the digital memorial wall at a formal reception hosted in New York on May 29. At the ceremony, 126 recipients of the Dag Hammarskjold Medal were awarded posthumously to the UN peacekeepers.
The reception was attended by defence officers from around the world. Mr Mukerji invited them to put forward the name of their heroes to the virtual wall, which is hosted on the website – www.pminewyork.org – the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations. The wall includes names of 161 Indians who died in several peacekeeping operations.
So far, India has contributed more than 180,000 troops to 44 UN operations so far. Currently, 8,112 Indian personnel are serving from the Indian military, police and civilians in seven U.N. operations.
Welcoming the initiative, Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous said: “India has been one of the great peacekeeper contributor countries, and the heroes deserve our admiration for their courage.”
Earlier, two Indians were awarded the Dag Hammarskjold Medal. They were Lance Naik Nand Ram, who served in the U.N. mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Raju Joseph, a civilian who died while working for the UN operation in South Sudan.
The proposal to build a U.N. Peacekeepers’ Memorial Wall at the headquarters with the names of the heroes on it was an initative of India. The initiative has been designed to commemorate the troops from all the member countries of the United Nations who had sacrificed their lives serving on various UN missions.
The three Indian military officers — Lt Col Bharat Sirohi, Lt Col Rajneesh Duseja, Lt Col Bharat Bhalla and a Deputy Inspector General PS Knegi — were among those awarded at the ceremony.