Cobra Gold military drills back to full scale next year

Cobra Gold military drills back to full scale next year

United States Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin and Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha walk past an honour guard before their meeting at the Defence Ministry on Monday.  (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
United States Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin and Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha walk past an honour guard before their meeting at the Defence Ministry on Monday.  (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

The US-Thai Cobra Gold military exercise will be held as a full-scale drill next year after it was scaled back due to the pandemic, said Defence Ministry spokesman Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich on Monday.

Gen Kongcheep did not go into details about next year's exercises, only saying Thailand and the US agreed to host it as a full-sized drill which would include cyber warfare training.

Cobra Gold is one of the world's longest-running international exercises. It is also the largest multinational military exercise in Southeast Asia.

Gen Kongcheep also disclosed the outcome of the talks between US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday. Gen Austin paid an official visit to Thailand and leaves today. It was his first visit to Thailand as defence secretary.

The prime minister also met Gen Austin in Washington, DC last month.

Gen Kongcheep said Gen Prayut told Gen Austin that Thailand has long adhered to supporting the role of the US in complying with international laws, including saving Myanmar refugees.

Meanwhile, Gen Austin affirmed the US will constantly strengthen Thailand's military with technology, training, weapons and defence industry development, Gen Kongcheep said.

He added that Gen Austin and Gen Prayut reaffirmed the Joint Vision Statement 2020 for the US–Thai Defense Alliance which is a treaty alliance aimed at enabling stability, prosperity and sustainability in the Indo-Pacific region in support of an inclusive and rules-based international order.

Admiral John Aquilino, commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command, also visited Thailand from June 7-9 to take part in the first-ever 2022 US-Thailand Senior Leader Dialogue (SLD).



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