Indian contingent leaves legacy of goodwill

2008 (UNMIS)

UNMIS’ Indian military contingents of Juba, Wau and Kadugli recently left Sudan, leaving behind a legacy of goodwill for good deeds ranging from free medical and veterinary camps to rehabilitated schools, prisons and boreholes.

Led by Lt. Col. S. S. Maan, the contingent organized 30 veterinary camps in Kadugli and three in Wau, treating more than 40,000 animals and performing six life-saving caesarian operations. It also held 20 medical camps in Kadugli and three in Wau, caring for a total of almost 11,000 patients.

Wau Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Surinder Sekhawat said modestly, "We did very little … a lot more needs to be done. They have no drinking water, the orphans of war have to scrounge for food ….they need a big hand."

The contingent also refurbished four schools in Kadugli and carried out minor repairs on five, providing black boards, furniture, doors, windows and even playgrounds. It gave 80 primary students school kits, which included footballs, basketballs and handballs. In addition, the Indians built a toilet and septic tank for Kadugli prison and planted several hundred saplings in town as well as in the UNMIS camp.

Of major benefit, the contingent also revived 12 bore wells along the 18-kilometre road between the airport and Kadugli town, making access to clean water a short walk, rather than kilometers. "We also taught the locals how to repair the bore wells so the project could be sustainable, even after we leave," said Commanding Officer Col Sandeep Seghal.

Pinning medals on the Indian soldiers at an impressive parade in Wau shortly before they left, UNMIS Force Commander Lt. Gen. Jasbir Lidder stated emphatically, "You have earned your medals."

The parade took place against the backdrop of a replica of the historic Red Fort in Delhi, which was crafted by the Indian contingent in Wau. The show stealers of the parade were the bagpipers and drummers, who put on a colourful pageant, drawing repeated applause from the audience.


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