Any difficulty can be overcome with patience: UN Mission Force Commander in South Sudan

SUDAN : Decorated Indian Army officer Lieutenant General Shailesh Sadashiv Tinaikar, who will be leading about 15,000 troops as the newly appointed Force Commander of the UN mission in war-ravaged South Sudan, has encouraged peacekeepers to achieve their mandate and overcome difficulties with patience and perseverance.

Tinaikar arrived in South Sudan capital Juba on July 6 and assumed charge as the UNMISS Force Commander.

“I am confident that with your full support, we will be able to achieve the mandate that has been assigned to us. I know the difficulties of the mandate but I don’t think anything is so difficult that you cannot achieve it with effort, patience and perseverance,” Tinaikar said in a video posted by the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had announced the appointment of 57-year-old Tinaikar in May.

“Lieutenant General Shailesh Sadashiv Tinaikar from #India has today, 6 July, arrived and taken up the position as Force Commander at #UNMISS #SouthSudan. May the force be with him,” the UNMISS tweeted.

In another tweet, the UN mission said Tinaikar was officially welcomed by a guard of honour.

The UNMISS video said after 34 years of distinguished service with the Indian armed forces, Tinaikar will take responsibility for leading almost 15,000 troops as “they work to protect civilians, provide a safe environment for displaced families returning to their homes and to support the fragile peace process as South Sudan recovers from a six-year Civil War”.

The video shows Tinaikar inspecting the guard of honour, formally taking charge as Force Commander and interacting with UN peacekeepers and personnel from other nations deployed with the mission.

Tinaikar has had a long and distinguished career with the Indian Army spanning over three decades. He graduated from the Indian Military Academy in 1983. Before arriving in South Sudan, he had been Commandant of The Infantry School since July 2018.

He previously served as the Additional Director General of Military Operations at Army Headquarters from 2017 to 2018. From 2012 to 2017, he commanded a division, a recruit training centre and a brigade, among other appointments within the Indian Armed Forces.

He has been awarded the Sena Medal and the Vishisht Seva Medal for Distinguished Service.

From 1996 to 1997, he served in the United Nations Angola Verification Mission III, and from 2008 to 2009, in the United Nations Mission in Sudan. He holds a Master of Philosophy (M Phil) in Defence and Strategic Studies from The University of Madras, India, awarded in December 2014.

As of March 2019, India is the second highest troop contributor to UNMISS, with 2,337 troops deployed with the mission. In addition, India contributes 22 police personnel to UNMISS.