THE ESM CORNER

TRAGIC LOSS: FORMER INDIAN ARMY OFFICER SERVING AS UN SECURITY OFFICER KILLED IN GAZA

Colonel Vaibhav Anil Kale, Ex-Indian Army, died in Gaza serving as a UN Security Officer. His death has deeply affected the international community, prompting calls for an inquiry.
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In a tragic incident that has saddened many around the world, Col Vaibhav Anil Kale, a former officer of the Indian Army, was killed while serving as a Security Coordination Officer for the United Nations in the Rafah region of Gaza. This event took place on a Monday and has deeply affected the international community, as it is the first time a member of the UN’s international staff in Gaza has died since the conflict between Israel and Hamas intensified last year.

Col Vaibhav Anil Kale

who was 46 years old, was on his way to the European Hospital in Rafah when the vehicle he was in was attacked. This violent act resulted in his death and also injured another member of the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (DSS). Colonel Kale’s sudden passing has left his family, including his wife and two daughters, in mourning.

Before this unfortunate event, Col Vaibhav Anil Kale had retired early from the Indian Army in 2022 and had only been with the UNDSS for two months. He had a notable military career that lasted over twenty years, during which he served in difficult areas like the northeast of India and the Siachen glacier.

The United Nations has demanded a complete investigation into the attack, and Israel has started its own inquiry. According to reports from The Indian Express, Col Vaibhav Anil Kale was respected as a courageous and committed officer, known for his physical fitness and wise counsel. His absence is profoundly felt by his former colleagues and the wider UN community.

Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, has expressed his deep sorrow over the incident and has stressed the urgent need for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. The UN has not identified who was behind the attack on the vehicle, which was clearly marked with UN flags.

The world is grieving the loss of Col Vaibhav Anil Kale, and his legacy as a soldier and peacekeeper will not be forgotten. His dedication to serving in some of the most challenging conditions highlights the dangers faced by those striving for global peace and security. The international community is united in support of Colonel Kale’s family during this difficult period.

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Farhan Haq, the Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General, shared the profound grief of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres upon learning about the tragic death of Col Vaibhav Anil Kale, a member of the UNDSS staff, and the injury of another colleague in the attack on their vehicle.

Secretary-General Guterres strongly condemned the attack on UN personnel and called for a detailed investigation. He offered his deepest condolences to Colonel Kale’s family.

With the ongoing conflict in Gaza affecting both civilians and humanitarian workers, Secretary-General Guterres made an urgent appeal for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the release of all hostages, highlighting the critical need to protect those dedicated to serving others.

Guterres pointed out the harsh truth that over 190 UN staff members have died in Gaza, emphasizing the need to ensure the safety of humanitarian workers. He repeated his condemnation of any violence against UN personnel and his plea for peace and the protection of those held captive.

A former colleague of Colonel Vaibhav Anil Kale spoke about the significant loss, remarking that his death is a stark reminder of the risks UN staff take to promote peace and stability in the world’s most dangerous places.

The Permanent Mission of India to the UN also expressed its deep sadness over Colonel Kale’s death, saying, “We are deeply saddened by the loss of Col Vaibhav Anil Kale, who worked for the UN Department of Safety and Security in Gaza with honour. Our hearts and thoughts are with his family in this tough time,” thus paying tribute to a brave peacekeeper’s memory.

May the Almighty grant peace to the departed soul and bestow upon the bereaved family the fortitude to endure this profound loss

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