Vietnam has said it will begin participating in UN peacekeeping operations from early next year. The move is a further sign that the country of 87 million wants to play a bigger international role. The state-controlled Tien Phong newspaper on Tuesday quoted Vice-Defence Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh as telling visiting assistant United Nations General Secretary Edmond Mulet that Vietnamese troops would be available from early next year. More than 115 countries contribute troops and police to UN missions, of which there are 15 around the world. Bangladesh is currently the biggest contributor, with more than 8,000 personnel, followed by Pakistan and India.