Golan Heights (Middle East): Boosting its presence in the Middle East peacekeeping, an Indian military contingent has joined the UN Disengagement Observers Force at the Golan Heights, a strategic position between Israel and Syria.
The 185-member contingent led by Lt Col Ajay Singh of Poona Horse took charge from the Canadians, who had been serving the UNDOF for the last 32 years since its inception in 1974.
While India has contributed an infantry battalion of about 1,000 troops to the UN peace-keeping mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL) since 1999, it is the first time that it has deployed its forces on Israel's border with Syria.
At an elaborate ceremony organised for the change of guard yesterday, Indian Ambassador to Israel Arun Kumar Singh said "India has contributed more than 30 peace operations in various sensitive theaters of the world." The very presence of Indian troops in these locations are also a testimony to the acceptance of the Indian presence in different situations, he said.
"We come from all corners of the country and bring with us a rich historic blend of the colours, taste and cultures of incredible India. With this kind of a background we look forward to our Nepalese, Austrian, Polish, Slovak, Japanese and Canadian friends to work together,"" Lt. Col. Singh said in his address.
The Indian contingent, which will be responsible for logistics support at the base, includes troops from 17 Horse, Corps of Engineers, Electronic and Mechanical Engineers, Corps of Signals, Army Service Corps, Army Medical Corps, Military Police and Army Postal Service.