Bangladesh UN Peacekeeping Force
Its 1st deployments came in 1988, when it participated in two operations - UNIIMOG in Iraq and UNTAG in Namibia. The then soldier turned politician - President-elect of Bangladesh, Lieutenant General Hussain Muhammad Ershad initiated these deployments in 1988 for the first time with UNIIMOG.
Later, as part of the UNIKOM force deployed to Kuwait following the Gulf War the Bangladesh Army sent a mechanized infantry brigade (approximately 2,193 personnel). Since then, the Bangladesh Army has been involved in up to thirty different UNPKO's covering as many as twenty-five countries. This has included activities in Namibia, Cambodia, Somalia, Uganda, Rwanda, Mozambique, former Yugoslavia, Liberia, Haiti, Tajikistan, Western Sahara, Sierra Leone, Georgia, Congo, and Côte d'Ivoire.
As of October 2014, Bangladesh contributed the highest number of total personnel to United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, with 8,758 personnel attached to various UN peacekeeping forces worldwide.
Explanations why Bangladesh shows such a great commitment vary. One argument is that Bangladesh is able to improve its international reputation and build "soft power," which enables the country to claim relevant positions for its diplomats in UN organizations. Thus, Bangladesh wins both national pride and diplomatic benefits, including better working relations with neighboring countries such as India and Pakistan. Another argument posits that Bangladesh is able to give its military professional experience abroad, and keep it busy and away from disruptive influence at home, which has been a permanent concern for the civilian government. Finally, Bangladesh may gain financial and material benefits from deploying its forces under UN leadership because the UN pays higher salaries and relevant compensation.
As a result of its contributions to various UN peacekeeping operations, 88 Bangladesh peacekeepers have lost their lives, of which 84 belong to the Bangladesh Army, one to the Bangladesh Navy and three to the Bangladesh Air Force. The leader of the Bangladesh contingent to Namibia (UNTAG), Lieutenant Colonel Md. Faizul Karim, died in Windhoek, Namibia, in 1989. He was the first Bangladeshi officer who died on a peacekeeping mission abroad.
The performance of Bangladesh's contingents has been described as being of the highest order and the appointment of several senior Bangladesh military officers as the Commander of UN peacekeeping missions and Senior Military Liaison Officers, may be seen as further recognition of the Bangladesh Army's growing esteem in the peacekeeping community. In 2008, the BBC in described the Bangladeshi UN Force as "the cream of UN peacekeepers".
- Momen, Nurul (19 February 2006). "Bangladesh-UN partnership". 15th Anniversary Special: Bangladesh & The World. The Daily Star.
- Contributors to United Nations peacekeeping operations (as of 31 October 2014). United Nations. Retrieved on 23 November 2015.
- Buerk, Roland (18 January 2006). "The cream of UN peacekeepers". BBC News.
- Palet, Laura Securun (13 November 2015). "Why one small nation plays a major role in peacekeeping". Ozy.
- Haque, Nicolas (29 May 2012). "Bangladesh troops lead global peacekeeping". Al Jazeera.
- Kabir, Mohammad Humayun (18 December 2013). "Global benefits, national motives". D+C Development and Cooperation.