BANGKOK, Thailand – The U.S. and Thailand will double the number of troops in their annual war games in May, as Washington restores normal military relations with the new elected government in Bangkok.
The Cobra Gold military exercises will take place May 8-21 in northern Thailand, focusing on training for peacekeeping missions, said Thai Gen. Songkitti Jaggabatara.
“Personnel will be trained not only in peacekeeping but also other types of assistance, which will help Thai forces prepare for peacekeeping missions in Sudan,” Songkitti told a press conference.
About 5,250 Thai personnel and 6,075 U.S. forces will join the exercises, about twice as many as last year, when the exercises were scaled down while Thailand was under a military-backed regime.
The U.S. had suspended $24 million in military aid to Thailand after the military seized power in 2006. The aid was restored in February after an elected government took office following polls late last year.
In addition to the Thai and U.S. forces, Singapore will send 158 personnel, Indonesia 81, and Japan 67. A total of 14 combat ships and 96 aircraft will be involved.
The U.S. Embassy’s deputy chief of mission James Entwistle said the exercises would help prepare for multinational responses to future crises.
“There is no better exercise than Cobra Gold in keeping our militaries ready to respond to the real-world priorities of supporting peace, stability, reconstruction and humanitarian assistance,” he said.
The U.S. will spend $17 million on the war games, while Thailand will spend 14 million baht ($444,000).
Mostly Thai troops will train US troops about how to fight in tropical country and how to survive in this kind of climate while US troops will train Thai troops about new fighting tactic and new US doctrine and equipment. Singapore is regular participant while Indonesia and Japan also become familar parties.
Welcome!!! ……. and be prepare to drink the cobra blood.
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