India is preparing to withdraw its four remaining Mi-35 attack helicopters from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) early next month after expiry of its contract with the U.N. mission, a top Indian official here has said.
Manjeev Singh Puri, India's Deputy Ambassador to the U.N., said that India needed its helicopters. “The contract has ended,” he told PTI.
Mr. Puri also underlined the need for “more consultation” with troop-contributing countries about the mandate of peacekeeping missions which was getting more “complicated.”
The Indian official added that there had been “some movement on consultations” but it wasn't enough.
The Turtle Bay blog on the Foreign Policy website described the loss of helicopters as “depriving the U.N. of its most vital military asset as the country heads into a landmark presidential election.”
“The Indian drawdown will deal a blow to the U.N. mission,” the U.N. focused blog said, noting that France is about to introduce a resolution that calls for greater role of peacekeepers to protect civilians ahead of the elections in Congo.
“India believes it is not accorded the respect it deserves on the world stage, and thinks its reputation has been tarnished in the Congo mission,” it added.
Mr. Puri, however, insisted that India had already extended the services of the helicopters for a couple of months at the request of the United Nations.