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Home : Media : Speeches / Testimony
NEWS | March 22, 2017

Shanti Prayas III Opening Remarks

By ADM Harry B. Harris, Jr. U.S. Pacific Command

Adm. Harry Harris
Commander, U.S. Pacific Command

Shanti Prayas III Opening Remarks
Panchkhal, Nepal

March 20, 2017
As Delivered

Thanks for the great introduction.

It's my honor to be here at the ‘Roof of the World,’ during this opening ceremony for Shanti Prayas 3. This is my first visit to Nepal. Looking around at the mountains it’s clear to me that all my future travels will be downhill from here.

The United States is proud to co-sponsor this training exercise with our Nepalese partners to prepare multinational military forces to support real-world United Nations global peacekeeping operations – or PKO as we call it.

Before continuing, I'd like to recognize Prime Minister Dahal - and although not attending today, I'd like to acknowledge Defense Minister Khand.

• General Chhetri, thank for co-hosting this impressive multinational exercise.
• Ambassador Teplitz, thank you for your support. Your leadership continues to strengthen the U.S.-Nepal relationship.
• Senior United Nations representatives;
• Major General Shrestha, Director General for Military Operations here in Nepal;
• Fellow Flag and General Officers;
• Distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen:

The relationship between the Nepalese and U.S. militaries flourishes because it’s based on mutual respect. With more than six decades of partnership and cooperation, together we’ve advanced security and stability in this important region.

And this exercise is one way we continue to enrich this relationship while at the same time strengthening multinational partnerships across the globe.

Folks, I’m reminded of something Colonel Rana, the Birendra Peace Operations Training Center Commandant, said. He said that the participants come here extremely focused because there’s a limited amount of time to build important peacekeeping skills. That said, the last thing you need is a long-winded admiral standing in the way of that progress. So I’ve modeled my remarks after Colonel Rana’s kukri – strong, sharp, and short!

First, I’d be remiss if I didn’t express my deep appreciation to Nepal for hosting this world-class multinational exercise.

Nepal has extensive experience in peacekeeping, having deployed forces to support operations in numerous hotspots around the world: the Central African Republic, Haiti, Israel, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Iraq. That’s just a small sampling of Nepal’s impressive and proactive support for peacekeeping operations. U.S. PACOM forces come to Nepal to learn from you.

Nepal became a member of the UN in 1955 and first contributed military peacekeepers in Lebanon in 1958. Today, Nepal is the UN’s sixth largest Troop-Contributing Country. In fact, they currently have more than 5,000 troops deployed and they are working to receive UN certification to provide a full spectrum of peacekeeping courses for the United Nations, right here in Nepal.

Thanks, General Shrestha and Colonel Rana, for carrying this honorable mission forward and supporting peacekeeping across the globe.

I also want to personally thank the nations participating this year. Your commitment to this region’s security matters.

The multinational response to humanitarian crises in the Indo-Asia-Pacific has increased in speed and effectiveness due in part to the strong ties developed during exercises such as Shanti Prayas.

These exercises allow partner nations to learn from one another’s experiences and deploy globally in support of vital peacekeeping operations.

The United States is committed to UN peacekeeping missions, mandates and tasks that support the rules-based international order – a system that benefits all nations. That’s why we continue to work together with partners from the countries that all of you represent.

Your efforts during Shanti Prayas are critical to our Global Peace Operations Initiative and this year’s training will help us all to improve our skills. For the next three weeks, the Birendra Peace Operations Training Center here in Nepal will be home to militaries from all over this planet – 540 Nepalese Army personnel will train alongside about 500 personnel from almost 30 countries.

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.

In addition to considering logistics, plans, and operations – take the time to think outside the box about peacekeeping and how we can use this time to enhance our collective effectiveness.

Partnerships play a critical role in meeting global challenges, from maintaining peace to providing humanitarian assistance after natural disasters. This kind of multinational training can deepen mutual understanding and respect and encourage further collaboration if we’re doing it right and we’re committed to this mission... and I know that we are.

We never lack reminders of the need for this kind of teamwork. And the best time to develop these partnerships is before world events demand them.

Harnessing the wealth of capabilities represented by the many militaries here today is a priority. I daresay it’s a necessity to successfully address the range of transnational threats present in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.

Bringing your talents, ideas, and resources together magnifies our impact far beyond the immediate region. Multinational partnerships are force multipliers for good around the world.

So, for the next couple of weeks, train hard, train safely, and train with a willingness to learn from each other. Strive to become a more interoperable peacekeeping force. Forge relationships you can call upon during crises.

This is the place to think creatively and maybe make a few mistakes – learn from those mistakes and let your training take you to that next level. This is how we grow and get better for future peacekeeping missions.

Today we find ourselves in a country, where even the flag pays tribute to peace. I’ve been told its blue border and curved moon represent the calm Nepali nature. But the flag also includes the sun and red background, representing the aggressiveness of Gurkha warriors. I like to think that’s not because of a penchant for war, but rather the tenacity to fight for what’s good and right. Ladies and gentlemen, we are in the right place to prepare for crises together.

I know I’ve gone on longer than I should have, but that’s only because I believe strongly in this exercise. And remember: your work supports the rules-based security architecture that underpins stability, prosperity and peace in this region – and throughout the world. Your work matters. Thank you.


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