New troops from India and Pakistan are headed to the troubled Kivus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to join the United Nations peacekeeping mission (MONUC) there.
The deployment, which began in November, consists of two new brigades, one from each of the South Asian countries. An 850-strong battalion from India is destined for North Kivu, while 892 troops from Pakistan will go to South Kivu, both on the DRC's volatile eastern border. Two more battalions are expected to follow next month.
A MONUC official hailed the infusion of troops and said their deployment was "anxiously awaited" because of the situation in the region.
Once the process is complete, slated for 7 January, Pakistan will have more troops deployed worldwide for the UN - 8,395 - than any other country. Bangladesh is in second place while India follows with 4,340 peacekeepers in the field after the battalions are sent to MONUC.