Subject: TNI to Participate in US, Japan Military Exercises in Thailand [+NATO; SKorea]

Indonesian military to participate in exercise in Thailand

JAKARTA, May 4 (Xinhua) -- The Indonesian military (TNI) will for the first time take part in a joint military exercise with Thailand, the United States, Japan and Singapore in Konayo, Thailand, on May 15-26, 2006.

"This is the first time for us to join (the exercise) after our status as an observer," Antara news agency quoted TNI Commander Air Marshal Djoko Suyanto as saying here on Thursday.

Djoko said, it was based on the TNI's interest to participate in the joint exercise codenamed "Cobra Gold" in a bid to widen its horizons, improving its capability and professionalism.

For now, the TNI would only participate in the preparatory phase of the joint exercise. "We will not yet take part in the battle exercise," he said.

He said the 25 servicemen who will join the exercise originating from the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Djoko said further that the total number of personnel who will take part in the joint exercise ranged between 9,000 and 10,000 from navy, air force and army including representatives of the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, Australia, Belgium and France.

He said the TNI in the joint exercise would focus its attention on peace keeping operations, especially relating to the operation of humanitarian relief.

"Cobra Gold" is one of the joint exercises held in coordination between the U.S. Seventh Fleet with a number countries in the Asia Pacific region. Such a joint exercise with Thailand could also be participated in by other countries in the Asia Pacific region.

----------- Joyo Indonesia News Service

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