Seven countries participating in Cobra Gold 16 are represented during the opening ceremony at Sattahip Naval Base, Thailand. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps)

Bangkok (VNA) – Cobra Gold, an annual Thai-US co-sponsored joint and multinational military exercise, was kicked off at the Royal Thai Marine Corps in Sattahip district of Chonburi province, Thailand on February 9.

In his remarks at the opening ceremony of Cobra Gold 2016, US Ambassador to Thailand Glyn Davies highlighted that the presence of over 20 nations at the military exercise represents their cooperation to ensure regional peace and stability and address any emerging threats in an increasingly interconnected world.

The exercise demonstrates the US’s strong and enduring commitment to the region, he added.

This year’s Cobra Gold will consist of three primary events – a command post exercise, which includes a senior leader seminar; humanitarian civic assistance projects; and a field training exercise that will build regional relationships.

Twenty-seven countries are taking part in the event, which runs through February 19. Approximately 9,000 soldiers are involved, with seven countries fully participating – Thailand, the US, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia and Singapore while nine others sent observers, including Vietnam.

China and India are taking part in conducting humanitarian civic action projects.

According to the United States Marine Corps, the exercise will improve the capabilities of participating nations to plan and conduct combined joint operations, build relationships across the region, and improve interoperability across a wide range of security activities.

Cobra Gold was first held between Thailand and the US in 1982. Since 2000, it became the largest multinational military training exercise in Asia-Pacific.-VNA