India is set to deploy female peacekeepers to the UN Mission in Abyei

India is set to deploy a platoon of female peacekeepers to the United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA) on the border of Sudan and South Sudan on January 6. This marks the largest single unit of women peacekeepers in a UN mission since India deployed the first all-female contingent in Liberia in 2007. The deployment is part of India’s efforts to increase the number of women in peacekeeping contingents and will be particularly welcomed in Abyei, where recent violence has led to humanitarian concerns for women and children in the conflict zone.

Women Peacekeepers

Women peacekeepers are highly regarded in peacekeeping missions worldwide for their ability to connect with women and children in local populations, particularly victims of sexual violence in conflict zones. India has a long history of participating in peacekeeping efforts and has had several notable female peacekeepers, including Dr. Kiran Bedi, the UN’s first police adviser, and Major Suman Gawani and Shakti Devi. Indian teams in the Congo and South Sudan have also contributed to community and social development projects at the grassroots level.

Indian Contingent

The Indian contingent for the UNISFA mission consists of two officers and 25 other ranks, who will specialize in community outreach and carry out various security-related duties. India is one of the largest contributors of troops to UN peacekeeping missions and this deployment marks a significant increase in the proportion of women in its peacekeeping contingents.

Importance of Women in Peacekeeping

The effectiveness of the UN’s peace and security efforts depends heavily on the contribution of women peacekeepers. More women than ever before hold executive positions in UN peacekeeping, with women working with the UN as citizens, police officers, and military personnel. The UN has recognized the importance of women in peacekeeping and has implemented a number of initiatives to increase the representation of women, including the establishment of a gender unit and the adoption of a resolution on the role of women in peace and security.

The deployment of the all-female Indian platoon to the UNISFA mission in Abyei marks an important step forward in the efforts to increase the representation of women in peacekeeping. Women peacekeepers have a crucial role to play in peacekeeping missions and their presence will be particularly welcomed in Abyei, where recent violence has led to humanitarian concerns for women and children in the conflict zone.


The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) was created by the United Nations Security Council in 2011 to address the critical situation in the Abyei region of Sudan. The Security Council was alarmed by the violence, rising tensions, and population displacement in the area. UNISFA works to protect civilians and promote stability in the region, while also supporting the peace process between Sudan and South Sudan. It is composed of military, police, and civilian personnel from various countries, and operates under the authority of the UN Secretary-General.



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