Multinational Peacekeeping Exercise Kicks Off in Nepal
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Mar. 26, 2013 U.S. Pacific Command’s deputy commander opened a multinational peacekeeping exercise in Nepal yesterday, praising planners and participants for the role they will play in promoting peace operations regionally and around the world.
Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Thomas L. Conant, deputy commander of U.S. Pacific Command, lays a wreath with Nepalese officers at Exercise Shanti Prayas 2 at the Birendra Peace Operations Training Center in Panchkhal, Nepal, March 25, 2013. The multinational peacekeeping exercise is designed to build capacity and interoperability among partner nations. Photo courtesy of the Nepalese army
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Thomas L. Conant joined officials from the Nepalese army and the United Nations to kick off the Shanti Prayas 2 peacekeeping exercise at the Birendra Peace Operations Training Center in Panchkal.
The exercise, the second to be hosted by Nepal, is sponsored by the United States to train the Nepal army and Global Peace Operations Initiative partner nation militaries for U.N. peacekeeping missions. Representatives of 23 nations are participating in this year’s exercise.
Conant, expressing pride for his service as a U.N. peacekeeper in Somalia in 1994, challenged the group to take advantage of the opportunity to “learn and practice and latest in peacekeeping skills in a realistic environment, as well as to learn from each nation’s participants.”
As they increase their peacekeeping skills and ability to operate together, participants will strengthen multinational cooperation while contributing to regional peacekeeping capability, he said.
“This exercise will be no different, as participants prepare for important international missions that require the highest peacekeeping skill levels and use the latest U.N. doctrine,” he said.
Noting Nepal’s contributions to international peacekeeping, Nepalese Army Chief Gen. Gaurav SJB Rana emphasized the importance of sharing experiences, best practices and lessons learned to prepare participants for the challenges of peacekeeping missions.
Shanti Prayas 2 includes a senior training seminar, staff exercise and field training exercise.
Eleven platoons from 11 nations participating in the FTX are working to enhance their tactical training, organizational tactics, techniques and procedures. Senior leaders from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and the United States are attending the four-day senior training seminar, which concludes today.
In addition, 84 officers from 24 nations participating in the staff exercise are focused on improving their operations, logistics and planning capabilities and U.N. civil-military coordination.
Conant and his Nepalese hosts laid a wreath on a Peacekeepers Memorial to honor those killed in the line of duty promoting international peace.
The U.S. State Department’s Global Peace Operations Initiative was established in 2004 to build partner-nation capabilities in peace support operations. The goal, Conant explained, is to increase the pool of military troops and police units trained and available for deployment and to provide the required preparation, logistical and deployment support they may require.
Within six years of its inception, the program trained and equipped 75,000 peacekeepers worldwide, primarily in Africa. The focus now has shifted to the Asia-Pacific region, with an emphasis on humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations, Conant said.