Nearly 2,000 soldiers have participated in a live-ammunition exercise, the Golden Hanuman 2018, over the past two days, using heavy weapons and armoured vehicles in the border region between Kampot, Takeo and Kampong Speu provinces.
Speaking at the closing ceremony on Wednesday, the deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), General Eth Sarath, who led the military exercise, said a total of 1,948 soldiers took part in ground training from April 24 to May 30.
The exercise in Chum Kiri district was aimed at strengthening the skills of military forces to safeguard territorial integrity.
“Today, we have trained, successfully and with pride, the RCAF to defend our country. After going through this military exercise, our troops have improved their abilities and understanding of counterattack strategies and combat preparation,” Sarath said.
He said the live-fire exercise was essential to improving skills in the use of rocket-propelled grenades and other heavy artillery, crucial strategic equipment for RCAF. Military officials will review and evaluate the tactics and the soldiers’ performance, he said.
Tea Banh, minister of defence, said his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe, is planning to visit the Kingdom from June16-20 to strengthen the friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
“We agreed to arrange an exhibition on Diamond Island to show our appreciation for the cooperation between Cambodia and China, which has a strong focus on the military,” Tea Banh said.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Defence spokesman Chhum Socheat denied accusations by civil society organisations that the military exercise was held to intimidate voters before the national elections.
“The military exercise does not threaten voters or the national elections,” Socheat said.
Sam Kunteamy, executive director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (Nicfec), said the military should not have conducted live-ammunition exercises in light of the impending elections as it would cause concern.
Former CNRP lawmaker, Cheam Channy, said he supported the live-fire exercise as it would help to improve the competence of soldiers and military tactics.