43rd Exercise Cobra Gold Underway

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RAYONG: Close to 10,000 soldiers from various nations have begun military drills in Thailand’s east coast. The 43rd Cobra Gold exercise is the longest-running international exercise in the world and involves personnel from 30 nations. The annual exercise which kicked off on February 27 will go on until March 7 as troops tackle national and international threats. The main exercise includes troops from seven nations — Thailand, the United States, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia and South Korea, while China, India and Australia will participate only in humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) exercises and the remaining nations as observers. The opening ceremony was attended by the kingdom’s Chief of Defence Forces Gen Songwit Noonpakdee and Commanding General of the US Army’s I Corps Lt Gen Xavier Brunson. “We have expanded the scope of military operations to address the full spectrum of threats across all domains… aimed at promoting collaboration to enhance regional stability,” Gen Songwit said. A new training programme will have soldiers taking on aerospace and cyber threats. On the sidelines of the exercise, the US will assist the Royal Thai Navy in salvaging HTMS Sukhothai, the RTN corvette which capsized in bad weather on December 18 2022 off Prachuap Khiri Khan.-shp/adj/dl (Pix:Exercise Cobra Gold)