News: Reinforcing national ties through multinational cooperation
Story by Sgt. Catherine Sinclair
CHIANG MAI PROVINCE, Kingdom of Thailand – Representatives from Burma, the People’s Republic of China, Laos, New Zealand and South Africa attended Cobra Gold 2013 as observers today in Chiang Mai province, Kingdom of Thailand.
The Kingdom of Thailand invited the representatives, designated collectively as the coalition observer liaison team, to observe aspects of the exercise in order to strengthen multilateral relationships, address global challenges and advance shared interests.
“These multinational exercises are always beneficial,” said South African Maritime Capt. Neil Watts, an observer. “The key is to pool resources and help each other, which means you have to know how to operate together. The more you get involved in these types of operations...you learn to be more responsive to disasters and learn to manage things like relief support.”
COLT nation participants observed crisis action planning during the staff exercise and the construction of an addition to a local school during a humanitarian and civic assistance project.
“Cobra Gold, for us, has become something to be part of for strategic reasons,” said New Zealand Group Capt. Mohammed Mukta Shariff, a representative from New Zealand’s Defence Attaché. “It was really an opportunity for us to reinforce the ties between other nations.”
The exercise is expected to improve the capability to plan and conduct combined-joint operations, build relationships between partner nations and improve interoperability across the range of military operations.
CG 13, in its 32nd iteration, is an annual multinational exercise in the Asia-Pacific region, providing more than 20 countries the opportunity to participate. All opportunities are designed to build relationships, enhance interoperability, and promote peace and stability in Asia-Pacific region.
“I think this construction of schools and the humanitarian assistance during this exercise is very good,” said PRC Col. Lei Ming, senior member of the PRC’s observer group. “We could strengthen the mutual understanding of other countries’ navy and other countries’ troops to enhance our friendship and training levels together.”