Kumar Leads Fijian Battalion to Sinai
First time in the history of the Republic of the Fiji Military Forces, an Indo-Fijian takes charge in Tour of Duty
For the first time, an Indo-Fijian will command a Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) battalion on international peacekeeping duties. Lieutenant-Colonel Avinish Kumar has been appointed Commanding Officer 2FIR, to lead the Fijian battalion serving in the increasingly volatile Sinai..
The 37-year-old recently attained a Masters in International Security from Massey University in New Zealand; a course which was under the New Zealand Defence Force Staff and Command College. The former Suva Grammar School student first attained his training to become an officer with the RFMF at the New Zealand Defence Force Officer Cadet School in 1999.
“I am privileged to be given this opportunity; to lead more than 300 Fijian troops in Sinai. It is an honour, but at the same it comes with challenges; this will boost my career as well. “Every peace keeping duties come with different experiences and it also depends on the role bestowed upon you and the situation in that particular country,” he said.
Lieutenant-Colonel Kumar’s first deployment for tour on duty (TOD) was in East Timor where he was the platoon commander in 2000. “I was deployed to East Timor after graduating from the New Zealand Defence Force Officers Cadet School; this was an opportunity to actually practice what I have learnt as a junior officer that time.
“I held various positions within the RFMF for the past years; with the assistance of my senior officers and training I was able to successfully move up the ranks within the Fijian military,” he said. He also served in Iraq, Syria and was deployed two times to East Timor; this will be his second deployment to Sinai. “In the past when I was deployed to Syria part of the first battalion for UNDOF where I was the operations officer it was the most challenging experience; this is where most challenges emerged during that one year TOD.
“There were lot of tough situations we encounter, but basically relying on the experience of our soldiers and advice of the command; we were able to get out the best out of the battalion.
“It was a unique experience especially where the blue helmet or wearing the United Nations helmet. “You are working in an environment where the threat level is high and you have to be alert at all times to know what to expect next,” he said. Lieutenant-Colonel Kumar advised RFMF soldiers serving in Sinai that their duty was to fulfill their mission given to them from the RFMF Commander and the Fijian Government.
“Don’t be distracted and try to focus on your mission; it is our duty to assist the MFO in observing the mission; observe, verify and report all activities happening in Sinai.
“If you are thinking of going to Sinai to do other things apart from doing your job; then I guess you are in the wrong place; don’t lose focus and always be alert at all times, so that we can carry out our mission successfully. “Sinai had changed over the years; it has become volatile and its time that we start adapting to that situation; there are only two elements of this mission; discipline and training which will contribute to our success,” he said. Lieutenant-Colonel Kumar has also attained military training from Australia, India, Bangladesh and Malaysia. “Every country has different ways to offer military training, but I am
honoured to have been given the opportunity to learn from these countries and it will help me in the long run within the RFMF.
“It will also help us to work with countries in peacekeeping environments or given the situation where NZ and Australia came in to assist us on TC Winston coverage,” he said. Lieutenant-Colonel Kumar thanked his mother for being the mentor behind all his achievements in life. “My father died when I was just three months old; it is my mother who has been the pillar of our family’s success, we endured the struggles with challenges and our humble upbringing from our mother; we were able to conquer it all. “I want to thank the Almighty for his guidance; leading me to a path to where I am today and also the RFMF senior officers and subordinates for putting trusting me to lead our Fijian troops in Sinai,” he said.
His mother, 65-year-old, Nand Kumari said she always taught her five children to be humble despite what they achieve in life. “I have always taught my children when they were young to be humble; no matter what you achieve in life; remember to always be humble and don’t look down on other people “My son has done me proud; most of the times he will be deployed for peacekeeping missions or training overseas and I miss him but then he has a duty to carry out,” she said. Edited by Maraia Vula
Lieutenant-Colonel Avinish Kumar with his mother Nand Kumar at their home at Bayview Heights in Nabua yesterday.
Lieutenant-Colonel Avinish Kumar.