New Delhi: India has sent a fresh contingent of its women Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) personnel for UN-mandated duties in the civil war hit African country of Congo, a senior official said Saturday.
The 22-member women personnel are drawn from the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) that is tasked to guard open Indian borders with Nepal (1,751 km) and Bhutan (699 km).
The SSB is a CAPF or paramilitary force that functions under the command of the Union Home Ministry.
The contingent was flagged off for deployment in the Democratic Republic of Congo Friday by SSB Director General Kumar Rajesh Chandra from the headquarters of the force here and the personnel will be deployed as a rapid deployable battalion of the Indian Army, the official said.
While this is the first UN contingent of the SSB in its over 55 years of service history, it will be the second CAPF women squad from India to the UN as the CRPF has been sending its female combatants for similar duties in Liberia for many years now.
"The United Nations has been seeking deployment of a female engagement team (FET) in its missions as part of its gender parity/sensitisation initiative."
"This team is part of that and it will conduct patrolling and engage with women and locals in that country to gain their trust as part of the UN charter. They will also undertake civic programmes and will assist in conduct of investigations and riot control among other duties," an SSB spokesperson said.
The troops, aged between 26-37 years, have been imparted special training in unarmed combat, weapons handling, tactics, international laws and protocols for this task, a senior official of the force said.
Congo is the third largest country in Africa, bordering Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. It has been placed under the United Nations due to internal disturbances in that country.
The SSB has about 80,000 personnel in its ranks and is also tasked for conducting anti-Naxal and counter-insurgency operations in various states, including in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern states.
It was the first CAPF to have recruited women personnel in the constabulary in 2007.