Service: Army

Last Rank: Naik

UNIT: 2nd Indian Battalion

Awards: Dag Hammarskjold Medal

Naik Rakesh Kumar

Naik Rakesh Kumar was a soldier in the Indian Army and served in the 2nd Indian Battalion of the UN. He was serving in the United Nations Mission (UNMISS) in South Sudan and lost his life during a peacekeeping mission in January 2015.




On 9th July 2011, the map of the world witnessed a great change with the creation of a new country. The Republic of South Sudan was born as the result of a six-year peace process set into motion by the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005. However, the UNSC determined that the unstable situation in South Sudan poses a threat to international peace and security. In accordance with this belief, the UN adopted resolution 1996 which established the UNMISS. The objective of UNMISS was to consolidate peace and security. It was also intended to help establish conditions for the nation’s development.


In December 2013, there was spread of violence in the Unity State of South Sudan. What had initially started off as a conflict between armed groups, slowly evolved into the brutal killing of mass civilians. The civilian population of the Unity State was subjected to extreme levels of violence. Following this crisis, the UNSC passed Resolution 2155 which reinforced UNMISS and reorganized its goals. The priority changed to protecting civilians, enforcing their human rights and delivering assistance. UNMISS then established safety camps, provided medical assistance, provided food to children and provided employment to thousands of locals.


Naik Rakesh Kumar served as a part of this mission. He lost his life in pursuit of achieving this noble cause. For his brave sacrifice, he was chosen to be posthumously awarded the revered Dag Hammarskjold Medal by the UN on the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers (29th May).


He will forever be remembered and celebrated for his bravery and steadfast love for people.

  • U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commemorated the event by laying a wreath to honour all fallen peacekeepers. Later, he presided over a ceremony at which the medals were awarded posthumously to fallen peacekeepers. Permanent Representatives and Ambassadors to the U.N. collected the medals on behalf of the fallen peacekeepers from their countries.
  • Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, Atul Khare had said the sacrifices of the brave men and women of peacekeeping “inspire us to serve with courage and dignity and to pursue continuous improvement and innovation in our work.”
  • “We owe this not just to our departed colleagues, but also to the millions of civilians that we have been entrusted to protect. We must continue to work together to enable complex operations to succeed with rapid, effective, efficient and responsible support,” he said.

He was awarded the prestigious Dag Hammarskjold Medal by the United Nations. The medal is awarded posthumously to members of peacekeeping operations who lost their lives during service with a peacekeeping operation under the control and authority of the UN.

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