Bangladesh is still the top troops contributing country with 6,722 military and police personnel working for the UN; nevertheless, this prestigious position is a matter of constant worry because we lead by only a marginal number
Being the top troop-contributing country generates a sense of accomplishment among peacekeepers. Besides graduation from Least Developed Country earlier this year, this is something that we can be proud of in the year of the golden jubilee of our independence.
From April 1989 to April 2020, a total of 151 Bangladesh peacekeepers have made supreme sacrifices while another 229 sustained injuries. Our outstanding contribution and supreme sacrifice demand that we remain in that position for as long as we continue to support the peace initiative.
Despite being the leading top troop-contributing countries for a long time, our share at the mission command level is scarce. The fact that Major General Md Main Ullah Chowdhury is currently working as Deputy Force Commander in South Sudan is a matter of great pride for our country.
Surprisingly, we only had a few appointments of such kind. For instance, Major General Anwar Hussain served as Chief Military Observer in Georgia in 2008. Before him, Major General Mohammad Harun-Ar-Rashid served from April 1997–November 1998, Major General Kazi Ashfaq Ahmed served from May 2002–April 2004.
Major General Abdul Hafiz served as Chief Military Liaison Officer in Côte d'Ivoire in 2003 and Force Commander in Western Sahara in 2011. Major General Abu Tayeb Muhammad Zahirul Alam served as Force Commander in Liberia in 2008. Besides, Major General Mohammad Humayun Kabir served as Force Commander of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus in 2016.
It is encouraging to mention that Brigadier General Mohammad Nazmul Haque has been appointed as the Chief of Staff at the Office of Military Affairs, Department of Peace Operations, at the UN Headquarters. He is the first Bangladeshi military officer to be appointed to such a key appointment at the UN Headquarters.
It has been thirty-three years since we first participated in the UN mission; we must seek opportunities to substantiate our contribution by a wide margin, such as key appointments and top leadership assignments. We need more Bangladeshi Generals in those positions to lead the peace process.
From a humble beginning, we have now become a leader in peacekeeping, peacebuilding and peace enforcement operations. We are the best in this business; we would like to keep it in that way for as long as possible.
Strategic diplomatic efforts, coordinated efforts, and military diplomacy at the international level will be critical in increasing our participation in the UN environment from this point forward.
Lieutenant Colonel Golam Towhid Al Kibria has participated in the UN peacekeeping mission in DR Congo. He can be reached at [email protected].
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