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NEWS | March 4, 2024

The United States, Nepal Conclude Multinational Peacekeeping Exercise Shanti Prayas IV

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Public Affairs

Nepal and the United States conducted the closing ceremony of exercise Shanti Prayas IV at Birendra Peace Operations Training Centre, Panchkhal, Nepal, Mar. 4, 2024.

Running from Feb.20 – Mar.4, over 1100 participants from 18 countries took part to include Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Fiji, Ghana, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United States, Uruguay, and Vietnam.

Shanti Prayas is a multinational peacekeeping exercise sponsored by the Nepali Army and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, hosted rotationally between the two countries. Shanti Prayas IV is the latest in a series of exercises designed to support peacekeeping operations.

This year’s iteration consisted of a UN peacekeeping operations staff training event, a field-training event, and a critical enabler capability enhancement event at the BPOTC, all of which focused on UN and international peacekeeping and stability operations.

Chief of Army Staff, Nepali Army, Gen. Prabhu Ram Sharma, Commanding General of 8th Theater Sustainment Command, Maj. Gen. Jered Helwig, and Nepali Army Director of Peace Operations, Brig. Gen. Prem Bahadur Pun, presided over the closing ceremony.

During exercise Shanti Prayas IV, Nepali, U.S., and other like-minded nation forces worked together to enhance interoperability and effectiveness in common techniques and procedures in accordance with UN doctrine.

Nepali Army Director of Peace Operations, Brig. Gen. Pun addressed the gathered participants and dignitaries by reflecting on the intensive training and friendships forged.

“Throughout the last couple of weeks, we’ve witnessed an impressive commitment, collaboration, and genuine unity among participants dedicated to the noble cause of peacekeeping,” Pun said. “Military personnel from diverse backgrounds have not only enriched the exercise, but also has strengthened cooperation and understanding.”

As the U.S. delegation head, Maj. Gen. Helwig expressed his deepest appreciation for Nepal’s hospitality and commitment towards peacekeeping excellence in hosting major multinational exercises like Shanti Prayas against the backdrop of an increasingly volatile world.

“Today, we see rising insecurity and a more volatile world with increasing threats from authoritarian ideologies, violent extremist organizations, the weakening of global norms, and the closure of several United Nations Peacekeeping Missions at a time they appear to be most needed,” said Helwig. “The like-minded member states who seek peace and stability are committed to face these threats to increase global security and defend a rules-based order that provides opportunities for all. Today, eighteen of these member states are represented here and committed to stand against these threats.”

Following Helwig’s remarks, closing ceremony participants enjoyed a demonstration of Nepal’s famous Khukuri Drill along with a performance by the Nepali Army band. The Khukuri Drill is a ceremonial display of skill, discipline, and reverence by performers wielding khukuri knives, highlighting the confidence and precision required to wield this iconic blade.

Nepali Chief of Army Staff Gen. Sharma closed the ceremony by remarking upon the hard work and contributions of all participants towards making Shanti Prayas IV a world-class event. He further espoused the ideals of peacekeeping and Nepal’s leading role in peacekeeping efforts.

“Exercises like Shanti Prayas play a crucial role in enhancing our ability to respond effectively to the fluid and evolving dynamics of conflict,” Sharma said. “The successful completion of this exercise reinforces our commitment to developing BPOTC as the ‘Centre of Excellence’.”

“I am confident that this exercise has provided all participants with the invaluable opportunities to learn and enhance their peacekeeping skills, thereby enabling them to operate effectively and with heightened sense of responsibility in a multidimensional and multicultural peacekeeping environment,” Sharma further added.

The Nepali Army and U.S. military have a long-standing relationship and routinely participate in combined peacekeeping and disaster preparedness exercises together, demonstrating the continued growth of the 77-year relationship built on dedication, mutual respect and trust toward the Nepali people.

Next year’s scheduled Multinational Peacekeeping Exercise will be Shanti Doot 5, or Ambassador of Peace, hosted at the Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operation Training (BIPSOT), in Gazipur, Bangladesh.