External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has lauded the role of Indian peacekeepers under the flag of the United Nations as he visited a street here in Cyprus named in memory of General K S Thimayya.
Jaishankar is currently on his first official visit to Cyprus as India and this Mediterranean country celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations.
“So nice to see the street in Larnaca named after General K S Thimayya. Indian Peacekeepers serving under the UN flag are appreciated around the world,” Jaishankar tweeted on Friday along with pictures.
Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has also praised and thanked India’s substantive contribution throughout the years for its participation in United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).
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India is the second largest contributor to UN missions with 5,887 personnel.
Kasoulides made these remarks during his meeting with Jaishankar, who is on his maiden trip to Cyprus.
“I expressed my appreciation for India’s substantive contribution throughout the years through its participation in UNFICYP, with military and police personnel,” Kasoulides said on Thursday.
“Cyprus was very fortunate to have 3 Indian Commanders of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Cyprus: General Gyani, General (Kodendera Subayya) Thimayya, who served in Cyprus until his passing in 1965 and General Dewan Prem Chand whose tireless efforts during the Turkish invasion to protect civilians, evacuate foreign diplomatic staff and safeguard the airport in Nicosia, will never be forgotten,” he said.
“Our island, having one of the longest standing UN Peacekeeping missions deployed on our territory, we thank India for the service and sacrifice of its peacekeepers,” he said.
General Thimayya, was a distinguished soldier of the Indian Army who served as Chief of Army Staff from 1957 to 1961 in the crucial years leading up to the conflict with China in 1962.
After the Korean War, Thimayya headed a United Nations unit dealing with the repatriation of prisoners of war. After his retirement from the Indian Army, he went on to command the United Nations peacekeeping force in Cyprus. While in Cyprus, he died of a heart attack in 1965.
More than 200,000 Indians have served in 49 of the 71 UN peacekeeping missions established around the world since 1948.
On Friday, Jaishankar also met the former Foreign Minister of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides. “Good to catch up with an old friend, former Foreign Minister @Christodulides,” Jaishankar tweeted.
The External Affairs Minister reached Cyprus on Friday on a three-day visit to the country as India and Cyprus celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations.