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Lieutenant-General Dewan Prem Chand presenting United Nations medals to members of the 1st Australian Services Contingent (1ASC) Headquarters Chief Engineer UNTAG at a parade at the United Nations Transition Assistance Group Headquarters in Suiderhof, Windhoek Namibia in 1989.[1]

Lieutenant-General Dewan Prem Chand (Ret.) (1916—2003) was a UN peacekeeper. He served as Force Commander in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cyprus, Namibia and Zimbabwe. He served in the Indian Army.

Early career[edit | edit source]

He was born on the 14th June 1916. He was first commissioned a Second Lieutenant on the Special List on the 1st February 1938. He was attached to the 1st battalion Dorset Regiment 24 February 1938. He was accepted for the Indian Army and posted to the 5th battalion 10th Baluch Regiment on the 24th February 1939. His senority as Second Lieutenant was antedated to 31 January 1937 and he was promoted Lieutenant 30 April 1939.

United Nations[edit | edit source]

Lieutenant General Chand commanded United Nations forces during two of their most sensitive peacekeeping operations, and also what is widely acknowledged as the United Nations most successful mission in Namibia.

Katanga in the Congo (1962)[edit | edit source]

Lieutenant General Chand commanded United Nations forces in the breakaway Republic of the Congo (Léopoldville) province of Katanga in 1962 during the Congo Crisis. He was awarded an Indian medal for distinguished service, Vashisht Seva Medal for this operation.[2]

Cyprus (1970-76)[edit | edit source]

Lieutenant General Chand commanded United Nations forces on the divided island of Cyprus, from 1970 to 1976. He was responsible for organising the escape of Makarios III from Cyprus during the 1974 coup that overthrew him. The same year, he protected Nicosia's International Airport from a Turkish invasion. The UN remained in control of the airport (Doyle, Sambanis, 2006, Making War and Building Peace, p. 273).

Rhodesia (1977)[edit | edit source]

The following year, he was called out of retirement to act as the UN secretary general's personal observer in Rhodesia, when discussions began to end Ian Smith's unilateral declaration of independence.[2]

United Nations Transition Assistance Group[edit | edit source]

Later, at the age of 72 in 1989, he was appointed commander of the UN transition assistance group for Namibia.[2]

Lieutenant-General Dewan Prem Chand was the commander of the military component of the United Nations Transition Assistance Group in Namibia from 1989-90.[2]

On 3 November 2003 he died at the age of 87. He had been honoured with the Param Vishisht Seva Medal and the UN Peace Medal.

References[edit | edit source]

  • Indian Army Lists - July 1938, July 1939, October 1939

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