At a special ceremony today in New Delhi the President of the Republic, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, honored, posthumously, Lieutenant-General Dewan Prem Chand (1916-2003) of India, Commander of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for the period 1969-1976.
Commander Prem Chand provided valuable services during his tenure in Cyprus and in particular during the 1974 military invasion of Cyprus by Turkey under tremendously difficult circumstances.
At the ceremony, the President of the Republic presented to Mr Sushil Prem Chand, son of the late Commander of UNFICYP, silver reproductions depicting the emblem of the Republic of Cyprus.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, President Anastasiades said that, On behalf of the Government and the people of the Republic of Cyprus, I would like to acknowledge the valuable services rendered to Cyprus by Lieutenant-General Dewan Prem Chand, during his service as Commander of UNFICYP between 1969-1976.
The President of the Republic went on to say that during the Turkish invasion of 1974 Lieutenant-General Chand exerted a tremendous effort to protect civilians, provide humanitarian assistance and provide information regarding missing persons.
In praising Commander Chand’s contribution President Anastasiades stated that General Chand served with true dedication the humanitarian values of peace, freedom and dignity, and fulfilled to the utmost his difficult mission in tragic conditions for Cyprus.
He then reminded that almost 43 years since 1974, a part of Cyprus is still under occupation and UNFICYP is still on the island, and underlined that we will continue our tireless efforts in finding a viable solution to the Cyprus problem according to the relevant UN resolutions, international and EU law.
Addressing directly the son of the late UNFICYP Commander, President Anastasiades said that you must be proud of your father, because he dedicated his life to humanity serving universal values, and then made the presentation of the special memento, while expressing deep appreciation and admiration to him.
On his part, Mr Sushil Prem Chand, showing deep emotion, thanked the President of the Republic for honoring his late father, stating that it is with deep gratitude and much appreciation that I accept this most moving memento from the Government and people of Cyprus. This amazing memento is actually a glowing tribute to your Government and people, who have nurtured and refurbished a memory of a short period in your history over 40 years ago. It is a truly remarkable testimony to a country with a really caring soul and a heart of gold.
He added that this gesture has built an enduring bridge between your people and the family of my late father. Our family honestly prays that this bridge will now be well travelled to continue to build this wonderful, moving bond for generations to come.
He then noted that although Cyprus may be geographically small, it towers well above other bigger countries in reciprocating its affections and caring. The Government and people of Cyprus, he continued, have excelled in an area far greater than political or economic in our minds: That of continuing to build and foster good will, love and affection among those, who have touched their heart.
On behalf of the family of his late father Mr Sushil Prem Chand stated: We will always be grateful for this honor.
Source: Press and Information Office