KATHMANDU, Feb 26: Major General of Nepal Army Ishwar Hamal has been appointed as the Head of the Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) to Golan Heights.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced the appointment of Major General Hamal as force commander of the UNDOF on Monday.
Major General Hamal will succeed NA’s Major General Shivaram Kharel, who served as the Acting Head of Mission and Force Commander of UNDOF from June to October 2019. According to a statement issued by his Secretariat, Secretary-General Guterres has thanked Major General Kharel, who recently retired from service, for his dedicated work during this challenging period.
Major General Hamal has had a distinguished career in the Nepal Army since joining the force as an artillery officer in 1983. He served in a various assignments and held several important posts as commanding officer, including the Commander of the Infantry Brigade, Director of Military Operations and Military Secretary at the Army Headquarters. Most recently, he served as the Commandant of the Nepal Army Command and Staff College and was Division Commander in the Mid-Eastern Division.
Major General Hamal has had extensive United Nations peacekeeping experience, having served as a Military Observer with the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) from 2006 to 2007 and as a Nepalese contingent member in the United Nations Protection Force from 1993 to 1994. Major General Hamal also served in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) as a Battalion Chief Operations Officer in 2000 and as a Platoon Commander from 1990 to 1991.
Major General Hamal holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Tribhuvan University in Nepal, a Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies from the US Army War College in Carlisle, and a Bachelor’s degree from the Tribhuvan University in Nepal.
Although Nepal is one of the largest troops contributing countries in the UN peacekeeping missions around the world, it is denied proportionate share of leadership positions. Hamal is the seventh NA officer to get top leadership position in the UN peacekeeping mission even as Nepal’s association with the UN missions spans over 50 years.
Current Chief of Army Staff Purna Chandra Thapa had earlier received opportunity to head the UNDOF mission in 2015. Similarly, Lieutenant General Balananda Sharma had got the opportunity to serve as Head of UN Mission from 2004 to 2006 while Major General CB Gurung served as military advisor to the then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan from 2000 to 2002.
Likewise, Lieutenant General Krishna Narayan Singh Thapa had the opportunity to serve as the Force Commander of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Iraq and Kuwait in 1993 to 1995, Lieutenant General Victory SJB Rana as Force Commander in Cyprus from 1999 to 2001 and Major General Pawan Jung Pandey as the Force Commander in Sudan from 2007 to 2008.