Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr., Commander of the United States Pacific Command, recently visited Kathmandu, Nepal to meet with Nepali leaders and to participate in the opening ceremony of a U.S.-sponsored multinational U.N. Peacekeeping exercise called Shanti Prayas III. Admiral Harris was joined by U.S. Ambassador to Nepal Alaina Toeplitz, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat.
“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,” said Admiral Harris. “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.”
Shanti Prayas first took place as a bilateral exercise in 2000 and then expanded so that by 2013 Shanti Prayas, co-hosted by Nepal and [U.S. Pacific Command], became the Pacific region’s premier multi-national peacekeeping exercise. 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 and Kazakhstan participated. Kyrgyzstan, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vietnam and Zambia were also represented.
In total, some 68 U.S. service members and 540 Nepalese army personnel joined the exercise, along with 460 personnel from the other participating nations.
Ambassador 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.”