NEW DELHI: India has committed to deploy a fresh contingent of over 100 paramilitary troops for rendering special police combat and security duties under the United Nations (UN) flag in the African nation of Liberia.
The all-male personnel unit has been carved out from paramilitary Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and this will be the first squad of the border guarding force to be sent for UN duties in the 52 years of its existence. Officials said the decision was recently notified by the Union Home Ministry after SSB Director General B D Sharma prepared and submitted a proposal in this regard sometime back.
Officials said the contingent -- called the Formed Police Unit (FPU)-- is expected to take position in Liberia by late next year. "The team could be about 140 personnel strong," they said. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), since 2007, is the only Indian force which is deployed in this west African country under the UN umbrella to bring peace and stability in the region and provide security to the locals.
The CRPF has an all-women unit deployed there in addition to a male FPU and they not only provide security cover to the Prime Minister of Liberia but also train the local police in tackling the security challenges and civil war instances in the country under the banner of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
The UNMIL was set up in September 2003 to "support the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and the peace process, protect United Nations staff, facilities and civilians, support humanitarian and human rights activities as well as assist in national security reform including national police training and formation of a new, restructured military."
The mission is headquartered in the capital city of Monrovia and has close to 6,000 uniformed personnel, drawn from various countries. Officials said the new SSB squad will soon be handpicked from amongst the about 80,000 personnel strong force and will subsequently be sent for a special UN Civilian Police (CIVPOL) training in the national capital.
The men will be trained in commando tactics, special driving skills and other subjects of international policing, they said. The squad will be deployed in Liberia for a year after which it will be replaced by another team from SSB as per government directives, they said.
SSB is mandated to guard the open Indian frontiers with Nepal and Bhutan along with rendering multiple tasks in the law and order and anti-Naxal operations domain.