On March 12, the "Shanti Doot 4", or Ambassador of Peace, peacekeeping training exercise concluded in Bangladesh, providing a unique opportunity to prepare peacekeepers for the kinds of challenges they will face in real-world peacekeeping operations. This annual two-week-long exercise, hosted at the Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operation Training (BIPSOT), brought together over 1,000 participants from more than 30 countries. Nearly half were members of the Bangladeshi military, along with 500 other personnel from countries in all regions of the globe that have traditionally played a significant role in peacekeeping operations. Fifty U.S. service members from the Idaho National Guard and other units also participated.
"Shanti Doot 4" is one example of the type of exercises and training programs that are supported by the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI). GPOI is managed by the Department of State, in partnership with the Department of Defense, and works with 53 active partner countries around the world to enhance international capacity to effectively conduct United Nations (UN) and regional peace operations. GPOI programs promote lasting peace and security within vulnerable regions and reduce the need for the U.S. military to deploy in support of such missions. As Mike Smith of the State Department’s Political-Military Affairs Bureau said during his speech at the closing ceremony, the challenges peacekeepers face are difficult, but “there is no mission nobler, and there is no job more rewarding.”
"Shanti Doot 4" included a wide range of classroom, staff, and field training exercises focused on common military tasks, such as explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), basic medical skills, cordon and search, and checkpoint operations. In one such exercise run by experts from the Idaho Army National Guard, peacekeepers practiced patient assessment and treatment of minor injuries, while also learning to deal with casualty evacuations. Participants noted that it was impressive to see soldiers from vastly different backgrounds and experiences train together throughout the five-day session, overcoming their differences to become proficient in key medical tasks.
One of the last field training exercises of "Shanti Doot 4" integrated EOD, Counter Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IEDs), and Medical First Responder disciplines. Participants learned to identify IEDs and unexploded ordnance; clear and cordon off the area; contact EOD experts; treat and evacuate casualties; and maintain control of the scene. A Canadian EOD operator stressed the importance of working in an international setting, noting that “the information shared by chatting about the differences or nuances of each country’s tactics, techniques, and procedures is always enlightening; and shared experiences most often come up. Hence, a tight bond is formed between EOD teams who work in this dangerous field.”
"Shanti Doot 4" also exemplifies the substantial contributions made by Bangladesh, a longtime contributor to UN peacekeeping missions and consistently one of the top-three troop and police contributing countries. This year, Bangladesh celebrates its 30th anniversary of UN peacekeeping deployments. Since 1988, Bangladesh has participated in over 25 peacekeeping operations, including an all-female Formed Police Unit that served in Haiti between 2015 and 2017, the United States commends Bangladesh for its commitment to peacekeeping and recognizes the sacrifice it entails, including especially those who have lost their lives in the service of peace.
About the Author: Emily Hample is a student at George Washington University, who serves as an intern in the Office of Congressional and Public Affairs in the Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.
Editor's Note: This entry also appears in the U.S. Department of State's publication on Medium.com.