As part of the regular feature, Thailand launched its annual 2-week war games on 4 Feb 2009 Wednesday (held till 17 Feb 2009) with troops from the United States, Japan, Singapore and Indonesia.
The focus of the exercises was on peacekeeping and humanitarian operations and greater coordination between friends.
Codenamed Cobra Gold, the exercise preps the allied regional armed forces in peace support, stability and reconstruction, humanitarian assistance and combat operations.
About 11,600 military personnel from the five nations are involved in the games. 7,300 troops have come from the United States to train with 4,000 from Thailand, 106 from Singapore, 75 from Japan and 113 from Indonesia in all three services for the games.
Eighteen countries have been invited to observe this year's Cobra Gold, including Australia, Brunei, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Bangladesh, India, Philippines, Cambodia, China, Canada, Germany, South Korea, Laos, Nepal, Pakistan, Vietnam and Mongolia.
The militaries will also oversea a joint planning exercise and train together in various locations across Thailand while executing humanitarian projects.
Training would range from "non-combatant evacuation operations to full spectrum combined arms operations" including live fire, he added.
The military exercise will consist of a computer-simulated command post exercise
Thailand will foot 40 million baht (US$1.1 million) for the games, while the United States would contribute US$13 million.
US military assistance to Thailand was suspended after a coup here in 2006 but the aid was resumed after elections in December 2007.
Channelnewsasia/AFP, "US and Thailand begin joint war games" dated 4 February 2009 in the Channelnewsasia website [downloaded on 9 Feb 2009], available athttp://www.channelnewsasia.com/asiapacific/index.htm
Xinhua, "Cobra Gold multinational military exercise kicks off in N Thailand" in the Xinhua website [downloaded on 9 Feb 2009], available athttp://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-02/04/content_10762757.htm