March 21st, 2017 11:40 EST
Shanti Prayas Exercise Commences in Nepal
Shanti Prayas III, a multinational peacekeeping exercise, kicked off yesterday with an opening ceremony at the Birendra Peace Operations Training Center here.
Shanti Prayas III is a Global Peace Operations Initiative capstone exercise designed to train defense personnel for participation in United Nations peacekeeping missions.
At the ceremony, Navy Adm. Harry Harris Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Command, reaffirmed the U.S. 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-based international order, ... a system that benefits all nations," the admiral said. "That`s why we continue to work together with partners from the countries you all represent. 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."
Pacific Peacekeeping Exercises Date Back to 2006
Multinational peacekeeping exercises supporting the Global Peace Operations Initiative have been conducted annually in Pacom`s area of responsibility since 2006. Previous iterations of Shanti Prayas took place in Nepal in 2000 and 2013.
Exercise participants train in skills required to carry out U.N. peacekeeping mission mandates and tasks during staff and field training events and U.S.-Nepalese bilateral U.N. capabilities enhancement courses that run concurrently.
U.S. Ambassador to Nepal Alaina B. Teplitz said the United States 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," she said. "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.," she continued, "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 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. A training complex in the Birendra Peace Operations Training Center is dedicated to Thapa, and Teplitz said that`s a fitting way to honor his life and 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."
A Valuable Opportunity
Shanti Prayas III provides an opportunity for participating nations` militaries to train together, building interoperability and establishing good working relationships. Military personnel from Nepal, the United States, Australia, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Fiji, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vietnam and Zambia are participating. In total, some 68 U.S. service members and 540 Nepalese army personnel will participate, along with 460 personnel from the other participating nations.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia