U.S. and India Work Together to Support Zambia Peacekeeper Training

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PV2 Zhen Quin Deng (US Army Medic) and Indian military service members, COL Rohit Kapur and Lt Col Dev Tyagi, discuss the day’s training exercises in Zambia.
PV2 Zhen Quin Deng (US Army Medic) and Indian military service members, COL Rohit Kapur and Lt Col Dev Tyagi, discuss the day’s training exercises in Zambia. (Photo Credit: AFRICOM)

U.S. and India Work Together to Support Zambia Peacekeeper Training

The United States and India jointly provided medical training to build the capacity of Zambian military personnel who were preparing to deploy to the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic. This collaboration between the United States and India marked an important step in the growing peacekeeping relationship between the two countries, and provided critical training to the Zambian Defense Force.

Trainers from each country -- the United States, India, and Zambia -- oversee a daytime exercise for peacekeepers. During the two-week training session, peacekeepers mastered skills necessary to effectively execute peacekeeping mission tasks. (Photo Credit: AFRICOM)

Funded by the U.S. Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) and coordinated through U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Army medics from the 212th Combat Support Hospital (CSH) and the 1/10 Mountain Brigade Combat Team partnered with two physicians from the Indian Army Medical Corps to prepare healthcare personnel from a Zambian battalion for deployment to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). The medical field training improved the skills of Zambian military medical personnel to respond to a range of medical situations and improved their ability to teach basic first responder skills to soldiers. This course was part of a long-term joint effort between India and the United States to cooperate in peacekeeping capacity building with third-country partners.

Zambia is a key partner in UN peacekeeping efforts, currently contributing over 1,000 troops and police deployed to four different peacekeeping missions. Zambia has pledged to continue support to these UN missions by adding a rapidly deployable battalion, a medium utility helicopter unit of three Mi-17 helicopters, a demining/explosive ordnance disposal unit, a Special Forces company, and three female engagement teams. The United States has proudly supported Zambia as a GPOI partner since 2005 and looks forward to its continued cooperation in support of UN Peacekeeping missions.

The GPOI program, managed by the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs in close cooperation with the Department of Defense, works to strengthen international capacity and capabilities to implement United Nations and regional peacekeeping operations. GPOI is currently partnered with 53 nations, whose contributions make up 67 percent of military forces engaged in UN peacekeeping operations around the world. Since its creation in 2005, the GPOI program has provided training, equipment, facilities, and advisory support to partners in building their ability to meet the increasingly complex peacekeeping challenges around the globe. Additionally, more than 8,000 female peacekeepers have participated in GPOI training events. GPOI trains peacekeepers in critical fields such as riverine operations, engineering, aviation, medical, logistics, signals, and counter-improvised explosive devices, all of which are persistent shortfalls in UN and regional peace operations.

Peacekeeping missions are a critical tool for promoting reconciliation and post-conflict stabilization in some of the world’s most troubled areas. The United Nations currently deploys nearly 100,000 uniformed peacekeepers to promote peace and security, while protecting civilians in conflict-affected countries. The United States, through peacekeeping operations and capacity building, supports the purpose and spirit of UN peacekeeping missions. Training events like this are not only integral to improving the readiness of troops for deployment, but also provide an opportunity for India and the United States to share their training techniques and experience with the wider peacekeeping community. 

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.