UN Secretary-General Current Affairs - 2019

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UN appoints Indian Army veteran Abhijit Guha as head of Hodeidah mission

Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of United Nations (UN) appointed India’s Lieutenant General (Retired) Abhijit Guha as the head of UN mission in Hodeidah, Yemen. Guha, who has 39 years of national and international military experience will be succeeding Danish Lieutenant General Michael Lollesgaard, who served in these posts from 31 January to 31 July 2019.

Besides leading the UN Mission in support of Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA), Guha will also assume the chair of Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC). RCC is responsible for redeploying forces of Yemeni warring parties in accordance with their agreement.

About Abhijit Guha

He is a graduate of India’s Defence Services Staff College, the College of Combat, and National Defence College.

He has held many important commands, staff and instructional appointments within Indian Army which includes leadership of an Infantry Brigade and Infantry Division, and of Mumbai Area.

He retired from Indian Army in 2013 and since then he has served on Expert Panel on Technology and Innovation in UN Peacekeeping (2014) and High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (2015).

International Portfolios:

He has also served as a Military Observer as part of United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia during 1992-23.

From 2009-2013: He served as Deputy Military Adviser and Military Adviser within the Office of Military Affairs of United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), while also establishing Office of Peacekeeping and Strategic Partnerships (OPSP) in 2013.

He has also led a number of United Nations’ investigations and boards of inquiry in Africa and Middle East.

About UN Mission in support of Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA)

On 16 January 2019 UN Security Council unanimously adopted the resolution 2452 (2019) and decided to establish United Nations Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA), a special political mission that was authorised for an initial period of 6 months to lead and support functioning of Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC), assisted by a secretariat staffed by UN personnel, to oversee governorate-wide ceasefire, mine action operation and redeployment of forces.

On 16 July 2019 UNSC extended the mandate of mission overseeing Yemen Ceasefire Accord for 6 months (until 15 January 2020) by unanimously adopting resolution 2481 (2019).

Indian Army officer appointed Commander of UNMISS

Indian Army’s Lieutenant General Shailesh Tinaikar was as appointed the new force commander of UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) by UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres.

About Lieutenant General Shailesh Tinaikar

  • He is a decorated Indian Army officer who has had over 34 years of long distinguished career with Indian Armed Forces.
  • Defence Service: In 1983, he graduated from Indian Military Academy (IMA). From year 1996 to 1997, he served in United Nations Angola Verification Mission III (UNAVM-III) and from 2008 to 2009, in United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMISS).
  • In between 2012 and 2017 he also commanded a division, a recruit training centre and a brigade. Later from 2017 to 2018 served as the Additional Director General of Military Operations (ADGMO) at Army Headquarters. Since 2018 he was serving as Commandant of the Infantry School.
  • He holds a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) in Defence and Strategic Studies from The University of Madras.
  • Awards: He has won the Sena Medal and the Vishisht Seva Medal for his service to Indian Army.
  • UNMISS Appointment: The 57-year-old Lieutenant General Tinaikar succeeded Lieutenant General Frank Kamanzi of Rwanda who completed his assignment on 26 May 2019. He will command over 16,000 peacekeepers with about 2,400 from India, in South Sudan in UNMISS.

India and UNPKF

  • India is the fourth largest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN peacekeeping missions (blue helmet) throughout the world.
  • At present India contributes more than 6,400 military and police personnel to UN peace operations in the Middle East, Lebanon, Abyei, the Western Sahara, Haiti, Cyprus, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

About UNMISS

  • It was created in July 2011 when South Sudan gained independence from Sudan. It is the second biggest peacekeeping operation.
  • Until now over 67 UN peacekeepers have died while serving in mission.
  • As of March 2019 UNMISS has deployed 19,400 personnel with it.
  • India is second highest troop contributing country to UNMISS. India contributes about 2,337 Indian peacekeepers second only after Rwanda with 2,750. In addition to this India currently contributes 22 police personnel also.