By Arul Louis

United Nations: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres thanked India on Friday for the sacrifices made by its peacekeepers while serving in the most dangerous places to protect citizens of other nations.

The highest number of peacekeepers who had given their lives for the UN were from India, he said.

Of the 3,737 peacekeepers killed, 163 are from India.

He praised India’s pioneering role in sending an all-women police contingent to Liberia – the first such deployment – that has been an “inspiration” to other countries and to the peacekeeping operations.

Guterres was speaking at the traditional reception hosted by India on behalf of troop contributing countries on the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.

India’s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin said althought the peacekeeping operations of the UN were not in the UN Charter, this effort has turned out to be one of the most effective tools for maintaining peace.

Guterres noted India’s standing as the country that has contributed the most number of personnel to the UN peacekeeping operations, with 7,700 now serving.

He said that nations have made “enormous sacrifices” to put their troops in the “most dangerous” conditions to protect citizens of other countries.

He said the rise in fatalities of peacekeepers in recent years is “unacceptable” and “we are working to reverse this”.

Adequate equipment and training should be provided to the peacekeepers to protect them, he added.