Pushed into a corner, Army defends its peacekeepers

Ok, normally I wouldn't put a full Army statement up here, but this is one of those times when the Army has been really pushed into a corner and embarrassed by reports about its UN peacekeepers, one of the things it prides itself steeply on, so here's their statement in full. Could use some debate, if you ask me: In light of periodic reports in sections of the media which have sought to undermine professional and ethical behavior of the Indian Peacekeepers in Congo, it is considered essential to place the facts in correct perspective lest mischievous designs of some parties with vested interest should go unchallenged and to ensure that the truth prevails.

The media reports have emanated from Congo based upon various allegations leveled by either un-named sources or by individuals of doubtful credibility, against the Indian peacekeepers of indulging in "gold smuggling", "trading arms with the rebels", "refusing to conduct operations against armed rebels" and even of "sexual exploitation" of locals. It needs to be noted that besides all allegations being investigated by the OIOS of the UN, the Indian Army has zero tolerance for any acts of omission or commission by its peacekeepers which violate its code of professional ethics, and accordingly, irrespective of the seriousness or frivolousness of allegations, the Indian Army subjects each allegation to a detailed and institutionalized process of investigations which, without fail, are pursued till their logical conclusion.

The fact that all allegations were found to be false and baseless, by the OIOS of the UN, should be indicative of the ulterior motives of those elements who have worked hard to invent them and surreptitiously planted them through sections of the media.

An incident of aberrant behavior by a few of the Indian Peacekeepers, which was not part of any allegations made but, did come to light during the process of investigations, pertained to a soldier of the Indian Peacekeeping contingent being lured into purchasing a small quantity of counterfeit gold dust and thus being cheated by an anti-social person. Investigations have revealed that the concerned soldier with his immediate superior officer, on becoming aware of having been cheated, detained the cheat to recover the soldier's money. Irrespective of the gravity of the incident, it may be noted that the Indian Army recalled the concerned individuals and ordered detailed investigations headed by a General Officer of three-star rank. Subsequent to the investigations, the disciplinary actions against the three Indian Peacekeepers have been initiated under the provisions of the Army Act.

There have been a few false reports in a newspaper that the Indian Army has "let off the concerned peacekeepers lightly by only 'warning' them". Nothing can be farther from truth. We request the media to show patience until the disciplinary proceedings are completed after following the due process of military law and to abstain from speculative and untruthful reporting lest they unwittingly land up promoting the ill-intended and malicious designs of interested parties.

The Indian Army reiterates its unfailing commitment to highest standards of professional conduct and ethical behaviour. The Indian Peacekeepers' contribution to restoring peace and stability in all UN Missions, including in Congo, has always been laudable, and by far, the most substantial. This understandably, has not always been to the linking of fringe elements who may have stakes in continued state of hostility and instability.

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