Thailand and India will launch a 14-day combined military exercise codenamed “Maitree 2018” next week to share techniques about fighting insurgencies and terrorism, a military official said Thursday.
The Thai Army’s 11th Infantry Division will host the annual exercise in Meuang District of Chachoengsao province from Aug. 6 to 19. The two countries will each send 50 troops to participate.
“We expect the Thai Army to successfully exchange military values with India and make use of many drills in real-life cooperation,” Maj. Gen. Worayuth Kaewwiboonphan, the division commander, told BenarNews.
The first Maitree, whose name means good relationship, was held in Thailand’s southern province of Krabi in 2016 and the next year in Himachal Pradesh, India.
“We aim to foster relations of the two armies, share experiences and techniques at the infantry company level,” Worayuth said. “In addition, each of us would rehearse anti-national terrorism operation and then exchange techniques and improve performance.”
Worayuth met with Indian Col. Vijay Singh Mehta in late May at the 11th Infantry Division in Chachoengsao on the outskirt of Bangkok to plan the exercise.
Worayuth said non-commissioned and commissioned officers will be involved in the training.
Activities will include sessions in Thai boxing, reconnaissance and scouting, ambush, day- and night-fire drills, raids, search-and-destroy and airborne evacuation missions.
Thailand and India established formal diplomatic relations in 1947 but their cultural and religious ties date back centuries with Brahmanism-Hinduism and Buddhism widely adopted in Thailand.
Since 2003, the two countries joined in a security framework – the Thailand-India Joint Working Group on Security – to bolster security arrangements and fight terrorism, according to the Thai Embassy in India.
“The two countries aim at bolstering their already good relationship in military cooperation to combat a possible threat,” an Indian diplomat who asked not to be named told BenarNews. “We want cordial ties to continue.”
The exercises come on the heels of a memorandum of cooperation signed by India and the United States in July to enhance security relations between the two countries, the Economic Times reported. Among the issues listed in the memorandum are combatting trans-national crime and accessing and sharing terrorism data.