Kathmandu: Over 800 soldiers from 23 countries, including India and the United States, today began a training exercise in Nepal, aimed at enhancing the skills of soldiers deputed for UN peacekeeping missions.
`Shanti Prayas-II`, the two-week training was inaugurated by Khil Raj Regmi, Chairman of Interim Election Council of Ministers in Panchkhal of Kavrepalanchwok district, 50 km from here.
The training, hosted by the Nepal Army in coordination with the US Co-Sponsored multinational Peace Support Operations (PSO) and US Pacific Command (USPACOM) under the Global Operations Initiative programme, will continue till April 7.
As many as 804 representatives from 23 countries including Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Canada, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Rwanda, the USA and the UK are participating.
It includes three events -- senior training seminar, staff training exercise and field training exercise.
Protection of human rights and establishment of the rule of law was essential for the strengthening of democracy, Chairman of Interim Election Council of Ministers Khil Raj Regmi said while inaugurating the training.
The Nepal Army has been continuously taking part in the UN peacekeeping mission since 1958 and the country was the first to host this Multinational Platoon Training Event (MPTE) exercise in January 2000.
Hosting the training is seen as a great opportunity for Nepal, according to Army Headquarters sources.