US calls off CARAT 2014 exercise with Thailand following military coup

26 May 2014 (Last Updated May 26th, 2014 18:30)

The US has suspended the annual military training exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2014 with Thailand, in response to the bloodless military coup in the South East Asian nation.

USS Ashland at CARAT 2014

The US has suspended the annual military training exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2014 with Thailand, in response to the bloodless military coup in the South East Asian nation.

Pentagon press secretary rear admiral John Kirby said the Royal Thai Armed Forces should end the coup and restore the principles and the process of democratic rule, including a clear path forward to elections.

"While we have enjoyed a long and productive military-to-military relationship with Thailand, our own democratic principles and US law require us to reconsider US military assistance and engagements," Kirby said.

"We will continue to review additional engagements as necessary until such time that events in Thailand no longer demand it."

The Pentagon also called off a firearms training programme for the Royal Thai Police, in addition to several other high-level exchanges.

A planned visit to Thailand by US Pacific Fleet commander admiral Harry Harris has been cancelled, as has an invitation to the Royal Thai Armed Forces commander general to visit the US Pacific Command in June.

"While we have enjoyed a long and productive military-to-military relationship with Thailand, our own democratic principles and US law require us to reconsider US military assistance and engagements."

The US assets participating in CARAT 2014 include 700 troops, guided-missile destroyers, frigates, amphibious ships and landing craft, combat logistics ships, diving and salvage vessels, P-3C and P-8A maritime patrol aircraft, MH-60 helicopters, riverine boats and targets.

The exercise is aimed at developing regional maritime security, navy-to-navy relationships and interoperability among participating forces.

It is mainly targeted at combined air, surface and anti-submarine operations at sea, maritime domain awareness, amphibious landing events and humanitarian assistance and disaster response scenarios.

Furthermore, the exercise involves riverine operations, explosive ordnance disposal, combat construction, visit, board, search and seizure operations, diving and salvage events, search and rescue, military medicine and military law.


Image: The US Navy's Whidbey Island-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) during CARAT 2014. Photo: courtesy of the US Navy, photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Raymond D. Diaz III.

Defence Technology