Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa in his annual statement in January 2011 stated the country`s commitment to contributing to world peacekeeping missions.
"Indonesian diplomacy will continue showing Indonesia`s preparedness to increase its contribution to UN peacekeeping missions to become one of the 10 biggest contributors to UN peace keeping forces," he said at the beginning of this year.
Since 1957 Indonesia has sent 24,284 military personnel to join UN peacekeeping missions in a number of countries: Egypt, Bosnia, Congo, Cambodia, Haiti and Lebanon.
In 2010, Indonesia sent some 1,785 military personnel to seven UN missions under its commitment to world peace maintenance, making it one of the top 20 countries sending peacekeeping forces.
Before this year ends, the government has realized its commitment by building an Indonesian Peace and Security Center (IPSC), which was inaugurated by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Sentul, Bogor District, West Java Province, on December 19, 2011.
The 240-hectare IPSC facility includes a center to train and prepare military personnel for participation in United Nations peacekeeping missions.
Other facilities will be among other things centers for counter-terrorism, disaster mitigation and foreign language training, as well as a Military Reserve Forces Headquarters.
The peacekeeping education and training facility is the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia and is expected to be fully completed by 2014.
The president said the world-class center was needed to create qualified military officers because Indonesia is very actively participating in world peacekeeping missions.
From the UN Headquarters in New York, Director for UN Peacekeeping Mission Operations Herve Ladsous in a teleconference with Yudhoyono on the occasion expressed appreciation for Indonesia`s contributions to UN peacekeeping missions in a number of countries.
"We are grateful and appreciate Indonesia`s contributions to UN peacekeeping missions," Ladsous, who was flanked by Indonesian Ambassador to the UN Hasan Kleib, said.
"Congratulations on the establishment of the peace keeping education and training center which will better support preparations for military personnel to be assigned for UN peace missions any where," the UN official added.
After talking to Ladsous, the president had teleconference dialogs with Commander of UN Peace Mission in Congo (Monusco) General Chander Prakash, Chief of the TNI (Indonesian Defense Forces) Engineers Task Force Konga XX-H/Monusco Lt Col Widiyanto; Deputy Commander of the UN Peace Mission in South Lebanon (UNIFIL) Brigadier General Santi Bonfanti and Commander of the Garuda Contingent Col. Darmawan Bakti; and Deputy commander of the UN Peace Mission in Haiti
(Minustah) Felicio de Los Santos and Commander of Indonesian Konga XXXII-A Colonel Winarno in Haiti.
On December 15, 2011, Yudhoyono formed a peacekeeping mission coordinating team (TKMPP) as a manifestation of Indonesia`s participation in the creation of a peace-based world order.
The coordinating team was formed under Presidential Regulation Number 85 of 2011 dated November 29, 2011, with the main tasks among other things to draft policies and coordinate steps with regard to Indonesia`s participation in world peace missions based on the national interest.
The President appointed Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs as chief of the team`s steering committee, with Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa as the team`s chairman, and Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro, Law and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsuddin, Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo, National Development Planning Minister/Chief of the National Development Planning Agency Bappenas) Armida Alisjahbana, Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam, National Defense Forces (TNI) chief Admiral Agus Suhartono, National Police (Polri) chief General Timur Pradopo and chief of the State Intelligence Board Lt Gen Marciano Norman as members.
United Nations Peacekeeping began in 1948 when the Security Council authorized the deployment of UN military observers to the Middle East.
Since then, 66 peacekeeping operations have been deployed by the UN, 53 of them since 1988. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of military personnel, as well as tens of thousands of UN police and other civilians from more than 120 countries have participated in UN peacekeeping operations.
More than 2,950 UN peacekeepers from some 120 countries have died while serving under the UN flag, according to information on the UN Peacekeeping website.
Indonesia`s military peacekeepers grouped in Garuda Contingent (Kontingen Garuda or Konga) was for the first time deployed to Egypt in 1957 as part of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) which was formed in 1956 during the war between Egypt and Israel.
Indonesia currently has 175 peacekeeping personnel stationed in Congo, 1,446 personnel in Lebanon, and 167 personnel in Haiti.
The country`s troops are serving in UN peacekeeping missions in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), and in the African Union/UN Hybrid operation in Darfur, Sudan, (UNAMID).
The Indonesian and French military contingents grouped in UNIFIL last July held a joint exercise to improve cooperation and their professional capabilities.
In September 2011, TNI Commander Admiral Agus Suhartono saw off the Navy`s warship KRI Sultan Iskandar Muda at its departure for Lebanon to join the UN peacekeeping force there.
The KRI Sultan Iskandar Muda-367 is the third warship Indonesia has sent to Lebanon to participate in the the UN Interim Force in Lebaonon (MTF-UNIFIL) after the KRI Diponegoro-365 and the KRI Frans Kasiepo-368.
Last November 2011, Indonesian military forces in Garuda Contingent Yonmek Task Force (Konga) XXIII-E/UNIFIL, or Indonesian Battalion (INDOBATT) concluded its peacekeeping mission in Southern Lebanon for a year.
In a military ceremony, Commander of Konga XXIII-E/UNIFIL Lt Col Hendy Antariksa handed over the tasks, authority and responsibilities to commander of Konga XXIII-F/UNIFIL Lt Col Suharto Sudarsono.
The Indonesian personnel in the UN peacekeeping missions have received several awards for their achievements.
In Congo, for instance, the engineering task force of the Indonesian military contingent Konga XX-H received a UN medal for its success in performing UN peacekeeping mission in Congo (MONUSCO) for six months.
MONUSCO Commander Lt Gen Chender Prakhas conferred the UN medal on commander of the task force Lt Col Widiyanto at Bumi Cenderawasih Camp at Dungu in Congo, last June 2011.
UN Peace Medals were received by the Indonesian military contingent Garuda grouped in UNIFIL for its full dedication and responsibility as UN peace keeping force.
Commander of Konga XXIII-E/UNIFIL Lt Col Hendy Antariksa told ANTARA that the medals been given to the 282-member contingent from various units under the command of UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon).
The medals were presented personally by UNIFIL Commander Alberto Asarta Cuevaz to the commender of the Indonesian contingent Col Yulianta and the representatives of the five task forces.
The head of United Nations peacekeeping operations, Alain Le Roy, when visited Jakarta in March 2011, said Indonesia had played an important role in United Nations peacekeeping operations around the world, ranking as the number 14 contributor of troops and police.
He urged Indonesia to involve police women in future UN missions as women peacekeepers` presence was needed because there were always women among displaced people in the UN mission areas.
Le Roy as quoted by UN Radio said Indonesian peacekeepers are currently serving in operations among other things at the border between Israel and Lebanon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Darfur in Sudan.
"They are very professional," Le Roy said.(*)