Indian peacekeepers defy icy conditions to keep peace
Life cannot go business-as-usual during the difficult winter season due to icy conditions in some parts of UNIFIL’s area of operation in south-eastern Lebanon. But for UNIFIL’s undaunted Indian peacekeepers, despite the harsh weather, it is a routine to carry out patrols and other operational activities in the snow-clad areas such as Arkoub and Bastara.
They continue to carry out all the operational activities in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 1701 in order to maintain the cessation of hostilities in the areas and along the Blue Line. This has helped them gain the trust and admiration of the local population.
Despite harsh weather conditions, the Indian Battalion has also maintained isolated observation posts along the Blue Line that are manned round the clock.
In addition to the operational activities, the battalion continues with the civil assistance in terms of the medical, dental and veterinary camps in these areas. The Indian peacekeepers also help in ensuring that the important road accesses to its posts are always clear of snow so that it can also be utilized by the local population for daily commute.
On 10 February, Indian peacekeepers, working with UNIFIL’s civil affairs officers, started distribution of rain coats and torches to local shepherds of Arkoub and Bastara. They plan to extend the distribution to other areas such as Halta, El Meri, Kfar Hammam, El Fardis and Kawkaba. The shepherds expressed their appreciation for the support, adding that the Indian peacekeepers’ medical and veterinary support has been critical.
These activities in the area ensures the cooperation between the UNIFIL, LAF and local population of South Lebanon continues and the bond of mutual trust and cooperation is built stronger, which is key to keep stability in south Lebanon.