MEA 'Deeply Saddened' By Death Of Ex-Indian Army Officer With UN In Gaza's War-Torn Rafah

(MENAFN- AsiaNet News) The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday expressed profound grief over the tragic passing of Colonel Waibhav Anil Kale (Retd), who served as a Security Coordination Officer in the UN Department of Safety and Security (DSS) in Gaza.
In a poignant statement, the MEA conveyed heartfelt condolences to Colonel Kale's family and loved ones, acknowledging the immense loss they are enduring.

Col Waibhav Anil Kale,
who had joined one of the UN agencies three weeks ago, was killed in war-torn Rafah in Gaza, becoming the "first international casualty" for the world body since the Israel-Hamas conflict started last year.

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"We are deeply saddened by the death of Colonel Waibhav Anil Kale (Retd), Security Coordination Officer in the UN Department of Safety and Security (DSS) in Gaza on 13 May 2024. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and dear ones," the MEA said in a statement.

"Our Permanent Mission to the UN in New York and our Missions in Tel Aviv and Ramallah are extending all assistance in the repatriation of mortal remains to India and continue to be in touch with relevant authorities regarding the investigation into the incident," the MEA added.

The United Nations has called for a thorough investigation, while Israel has initiated a separate inquiry into the attack.

Colonel Waibhav Anil Kale, aged 46, who opted for early retirement from the Indian Army in 2022, recently joined the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (DSS) as a Security Coordination Officer, as per officials in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Kale, previously in command of the 11 Jammu & Kashmir Rifles in Kashmir and serving as an instructor at the army's Infantry School in Mhow, was traveling with another DSS colleague to the European Hospital in Rafah when their UN vehicle was struck on Monday morning. The other individual, whose identity remains undisclosed, sustained serious injuries.

"Kale had joined as a security service coordinator with the UN three weeks ago. The former infantry officer decided to join the UN to pursue his career and also because he was keen on humanitarian mission work,” his brother-in-law Wing Commander Prashant Karde (Retd) told PTI news agency on Tuesday.

He is survived by wife Amruta and two teenage children, Karde said.

"The last rites of the 46-year-old will be held in Pune in two days after his body is flown via Cairo. His mortal remains will land either in Mumbai or Pune depending on the availability of flights,” Karde, a senior commander with IndiGo, said.

Karde stated that Kale had enlisted in the Indian Army in 1998 and had previously served as the Contingent Chief Security Officer with the United Nations from 2009 to 2010.

As per his LinkedIn profile, Kale attained his B.A. from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. He possessed degrees in Behavioral Science and International Humanitarian Law, having pursued studies at various institutions including the Indian Institute of Management in Lucknow and Indore.

Also read:
Indian UN staff member killed in Gaza, making its first international casualty in Israel-Hamas conflict

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was“deeply saddened to learn of the death of a United Nations Department of Safety and Security (DSS) staff member and injury to another DSS staffer.”

Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General, conveyed in a statement that António Guterres denounced all assaults on UN personnel and urged for a comprehensive investigation. Guterres extended his condolences to the family of the deceased staff member.

"With the conflict in Gaza continuing to take a heavy toll – not only on civilians but also on humanitarian workers – the Secretary-General reiterates his urgent appeal for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and for the release of all hostages,” the statement added.


AsiaNet News

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