PANCHKHAL, Nepal – Multinational Peacekeeping Exercise Shanti Prayas III officially kicked off March 20, 2017 with an opening ceremony at the Birendra Peace Operations Training Center in Panchkhal, Nepal.
Shanti Prayas III is a Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) capstone exercise designed to train defense personnel for participation in United Nations (U.N.) peacekeeping missions.
Adm. Harry Harris, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, gave his opening remarks during the ceremony and reiterated the United States’ commitment to U.N. peacekeeping initiatives and the importance of working together.
“The United States is committed to U.N. peacekeeping missions, mandates and tasks that support the rules-base international order…a system that benefits all nations. That’s why we continue to work together with partners from the countries you all represent,” Harris said. “Here in a center where the motto is ‘peace with honor,’ and involved in an exercise whose name translates as ‘efforts for peace,’ you will enhance our interoperability and engage in vital, realistic training.”
Multinational Peacekeeping Exercises have been conducted annually in the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility supporting the GPOI since 2006. Previous iterations of Shanti Prayas were conducted in Nepal in 2000 and 2013.
Throughout the exercise, participants receive training in skills required to successfully carry out U.N. peacekeeping mission mandates and tasks during concurrently run staff training events (STE), field training events (FTE), and U.S.-Nepal bilateral U.N. Critical Enabler Capabilities Enhancement (2CE) courses.
According to U.S. Ambassador to Nepal, Alaina B. Teplitz, the U.S. is a proud partner in the production of the Shanti Prayas III exercise.
“Support to peacekeeping falls in line with the United States’ goals in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Teplitz. “Peacekeeping affects the stability of regions and thereby can set the conditions where democracy and prosperity can flourish.”
“United Nations peacekeeping is very important to the U.S. and we routinely put valuable resources into partnering with the global community to ensure peacekeepers have the resources they need to accomplish this very important mission, Teplitz continued.”
Teplitz also praised members of the Nepalese Army for their selfless service and dedication to peacekeeping. In particular, she paid tribute to Maj. Kabindra Jung Thapa, who lost his life in the line of duty June 1, 2005 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Within the Birendra Peace Operations Training Center, there is a training complex dedicated to Thapa, in which Teplitz felt was a fitting way to honor his life and ultimate sacrifice.
“His willingness to give his life in defense of the defenseless and sacrifice to peace cannot be forgotten,” Teplitz said. “I think it’s appropriate that the building shares his name.”
Shanti Prayas III provides a valuable opportunity to train with our Nepalese counterparts and other participating partner nations’ militaries, thereby building interoperability and establishing good working relationships.
“I hope this exercise will enable all the participants to deliver their duties and responsibilities with professionalism and dedication to uphold the glory of their predecessors of U.N. peacekeepers,” said Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Prime Minister of Nepal.
Participating in Shanti Prayas III for 2017 will be military personnel from Nepal, the United States, Australia, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Fiji, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Krygyzstan, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vietnam and Zambia.
In total, approximately 68 U.S. and 540 Nepalese Army personnel will participate during the exercise, along with 460 personnel from the nations identified above.