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India to Launch Mobile Tech Platform for UN Peacekeepers

Image Credit: IndiaUNNewYork

India has announced it will launch a mobile tech platform in August this year to provide terrain-related information to the United Nations’ military personally, Blue Helmets. The integration of appropriate technology can play a significant role in improving the safety and security of the peacekeepers, India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador K Nagaraj Naidu said.

India, in partnership with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Operational Support, has been working to develop the mobile tech platform UNITE AWARE. It helps increase situational awareness and provides terrain-related information to peacekeepers.

Naidu noted that it is crucial to create field-focused, reliable, and cost-effective new technologies that are driven by the practical needs of users on the ground in peacekeeping operations. He was addressing the UN Security Council open debate on ‘United Nations peacekeeping operations: Improving safety and security of peacekeepers’.

India has already contributed US$1.64 million towards this project and hopes to launch it during the country’s August presidency later this year, he said. India is one of the largest troop-contributing countries to UN peacekeeping missions and has contributed more than 250,000 troops in 49 missions over the years. Cumulatively, the largest from any country, Naidu said, adding that India is “proud of its long and rich tradition” of contribution to the UN peacekeeping missions.

Naidu told the Council that an Indian peacekeepers brigade stationed in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, is presently saving lives in the aftermath of the volcanic eruption of Mount Nyiragongo. During the COVID-19 pandemic, India gave 200,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to UN peacekeepers across all UN missions. The country has also delivered 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines for vaccinating all uniformed personnel deployed in various field missions. Close to 140,000 field personnel have already been vaccinated.

In the country, educational institutes and government bodies have been working to develop technology to fight the second wave of the virus. At the beginning of the month, the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay (IIT-Bombay) began piloting a new technology to convert a nitrogen plant into an oxygen generator. The pilot was taken up to evaluate the conversion of a pressure swing adsorption (PSA) nitrogen unit to a PSA oxygen unit. This is done by fine-tuning the existing nitrogen plant setup and changing the molecular sieves from carbon to zeolite. Such nitrogen plants, which take air from the atmosphere as raw material, are available across India in various industrial plants. They have the potential of being converted to an oxygen generator to tide over the country’s oxygen-shortage emergency.

More recently, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) developed an artificial intelligence tool, ATMAN AI, to detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus in chest X-rays. It will be used by 5C Network, the country’s largest digital network of radiologists, with the support of HCG Academics. Triaging potential patients using X-rays is fast, cost-effective, and efficient, as OpenGov Asia had reported. The tool helps to automatically detect radiological findings indicative of COVID-19 in seconds, enabling physicians and radiologists to triage the cases more effectively, especially in an emergency.

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