The Straits Times
Published on Oct 19, 2012

Myanmar set to join US military drills


BANGKOK (AFP) - The United States (US) plans to invite Myanmar to a major regional military exercise next year, host country Thailand said on Friday, reflecting a dramatic easing of tensions between the former foes.

The move would see Myanmar's military - which ruled the nation for almost half a century and is accused of a litany of human rights abuses - join the annual Cobra Gold drills as an observer.

"Myanmar is on the list of observers, but it's not finalised yet," Thai Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Thanathip Sawangsang said, adding that the participants would discuss the idea at a meeting later this month.

Cobra Gold is the US' largest multilateral exercise in the Asia-Pacific region, bringing together thousands of troops from the US, Thailand and other countries for field training.