The United Nations will be honoring two Indian peacekeepers who died in the line of duty with a prestigious medal.
According to reports, Rifleman Brijesh Thapa and Private Ravi Kumar will be honored posthumously with the Dag Hammarskjold Medal.
Thapa was a 23-year-old Gorkha soldier of 4/5 Gorkha Rifles. A resident of Kalimpong, Thapa served with the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).
Kumar served with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
They are among 117 peacekeepers, including members of the military, police and civilian personnel, who will be honored. All of the 117 lost their lives in various UN-related operations in 2016.
The medal will be awarded on May 24, which is observed as the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.
Established in December 2000, the Dag Hammarskjold Medal is awarded posthumously to peacekeepers who sacrifice their lives during peacekeeping operations of the United Nations.
It is named after the second UN Secretary General who was posthumously awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1961.
Till date, 168 Indian peacekeepers have lost their lives in UN operations. One of them, Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria, was also posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest war-time gallantry award, for his supreme sacrifice in the face of enemy in Congo.
With almost 2,00,000 troops in the past six decades in various peacekeeping missions, India remains the largest cumulative troop contributor.
More than 7,600 Indian military and police personnel are currently deployed in various ongoing UN peace operations across the world.
Last year four Indians, Head Constable Shubhkaran Yadav, Rifleman Manish Malik, Havildar Amal Deka, Naik Rakesh Kumar and Gagan Punjabi, were honored with the Medal for their supreme sacrifice.