Defence chiefs from Australia and Thailand joined forces to officially open the 10th PIRAP JABIRU peacekeeping exercise in Bang Saen, Thailand.
Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, travelled to Thailand to mark the occasion alongside his co-chair, Royal Thai Armed Forces Chief of Defence Force General Tarnchaiyan Srisuwan.
The exercise, co-hosted by Australia and Thailand, involves more than 100 participants from 24 countries in the Indo-Pacific region and will run from 21 May – 1 June 2018.
Over the next two weeks, members from militaries, police forces, government and non-governmental organisations will work together to consider the current issues facing peacekeepers, and identify strategies to meet the complex challenges of participating in future peace operations.
Nine Australian Defence Force personnel and two civilians will participate in the exercise alongside 12 Australian and Thai instructors working together to deliver the course curriculum.
VADM Griggs said PIRAP JABIRU was bringing together representatives from across our region and beyond.
"It is an excellent opportunity for participants to develop networks and establish relationships with many of our regional neighbours, improve professional knowledge, and gain a greater cultural understanding of the military and police forces in our region," VADM Griggs said.
Participants will be tested by realistic scenario-based problems that reflect contemporary UN peace operations. This includes how to protect vulnerable populations such as women and children, understanding peacekeepers’ rights and obligations under international and domestic law, and how to sustain logistics support in often austere environments.
The PIRAP JABIRU exercise series, which commenced in 1998 and is held biennially, reflects Australia’s close bilateral ties with Thailand, including a strong history of peacekeeping co-operation.
"Thailand is a very important regional security partner for Australia," VADM Griggs said.
"We share similar approaches to regional security and a long history of co-operation, including in operations in Timor-Leste, the Gulf of Aden and operations in Sudan and South Sudan."
This year marks the 71st anniversary of Australia’s first contribution to UN peacekeeping missions, including in the Republic of Korea, Lebanon, Cyprus, Cambodia, Rwanda, Timor-Leste, Sudan and South Sudan.