Adm. Harry Harris
Commander, U.S. Pacific Command
Bangladesh Institute for Peace Support Operations Training (BIPSOT) Dedication
July 8, 2017
It’s great to be back in Bangladesh. I visited back in 2012 with the U.S. Secretary of State, but this is my first visit as the Pacific Command commander. I hope this visit sends a clear signal about the importance that the United States places on our growing partnership with Bangladesh. I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen here, and I’m grateful for the warm welcome. I’ve planted two trees today, and my goal is to come back and plant an entire forest.
The United States is proud to help dedicate this new multipurpose training facility for the Bangladesh Institute for Peace Support Operations, or BIPSOT.
Ladies and gentlemen, PACOM is pleased, indeed honored, to partner with our friends in Bangladesh, in support of the State Department’s Global Peace Operations Initiative, or GPOI, to train multinational military forces to conduct real-world United Nations peacekeeping operations.
As Dag Hammarskjold said on a plaque in this building, “peacekeeping is not a job for soldiers, but only soldiers can do it.” I think that says a lot for his recognition of the military piece of peacekeeping and the fact that you’re all here learning how to do this difficult job in Bangladesh.
There are currently 16 U.N. peacekeeping missions that contribute to global stability and security, and troops need to be trained properly because peacekeeping operations in the 21st Century are complex, difficult, and increasingly dangerous.
This facility serves as a tangible demonstration of our militaries’ and our countries’ dedication to U.N. peacekeeping efforts around the world. Specifically, this facility will train hundreds of officers from countries who participate in peacekeeping.
Through BIPSOT, Bangladesh has become not just a participant, but a global leader in peacekeeping operations… and now shares its knowledge and expertise with other countries that want to help ensure peace in the world, a noble cause indeed.
This facility will also play a key role in next year’s Shanti Doot 4, which is the Multinational Peacekeeping Exercise co-hosted by PACOM and the Bangladesh Armed Forces. In fact, 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of Bangladesh’s support to peacekeeping operations. So Shanti Doot 4 is a fitting way to mark such a momentous anniversary, as it will enable partner nations from around the world to learn from one another’s experiences and deploy globally in support of vital peacekeeping missions.
In fact, Bangladesh has been a major troop contributor to U. N. peacekeeping operations for those nearly three decades. And today, Bangladesh is the world's fourth leading troop contributing nation with almost 7,000 troops and police serving in 10 U.N. operations. BIPSOT will help Shanti Doot 4 participants benefit from Bangladesh’s real-world experiences, while building interoperability and establishing working relationships that are vital to future cooperation and partnerships.
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 a mutual understanding and respect, and encourage further collaboration when we do it right and when we’re committed to this mission. And I know that we are.
We never lack reminders of the need for this kind of teamwork in the world, and the best time to develop these partnerships is before world events demand our assistance.
Harnessing the wealth of capabilities represented by the many militaries that are training at the BIPSOT is a priority. I daresay it’s a necessity to successfully address the range of transnational threats present in the world today.
I’d also like to congratulate BIPSOT on achieving Full GPOI Training Capability last year, which shows your ability to conduct core military peacekeeping training independently.
Ladies and gentlemen, more than ever, the world needs highly trained peacekeeping operators. So thanks to everyone who helped with the planning and construction of this new training center. The work that is being done here supports the rules-based security architecture that underpins stability, prosperity and peace the region – and throughout the world. Your work matters! It matters to Bangladesh … it matters to the United States … it matters to the United Nations and, in fact, the global community. Thank you very much.