Vietnamese-Cambodian Joint Search and Rescue Exercises

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Vietnamese-Cambodian Joint Search and Rescue Exercises

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What’s in the New Vietnam-Cambodia Search and Rescue Exercise?
The new interaction highlighted some of the ongoing activity in the defense relationship amid wider challenges that ties continue to face.
Prashanth Parameswaran
By Prashanth Parameswaran
December 27, 2019
What’s in the New Vietnam-Cambodia Search and Rescue Exercise?
Credit: Vietnam People’s Army Newspaper

Earlier this week, Vietnam and Cambodia held the first iteration of a new search and rescue exercise. The mechanism spotlighted how the two sides are continuing to manage their defense ties amid these wider domestic and foreign policy developments that have tested relations.

Vietnam and Cambodia, two neighboring Southeast Asian states, share a broad defense relationship as part of their wider diplomatic ties. Vietnam provides the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) with military equipment, infrastructure, and training, while both countries have also looked to manage more sensitive areas of the relationship such as outstanding issues over their shared 700-mile long border, illegal fishing, and China’s growing influence in mainland Southeast Asia.

One of the new defense-related interactions that both sides had indicated would take place is a search and rescue exercise. Per details previously released by the Vietnamese military, the exercise, scheduled to take place in Tuasday commune in Chanthrea district in the Cambodian province of Svay Rieng, was expected to see the participation of some 800 people and focus on aspects including the establishment and operation of a joint command post, practicing dealing with chemical incidents and disasters, and post-disaster recovery.

Last week, the exercise kicked off as had been previously indicated by the two sides. Per the official account of the interaction by Vietnam’s defense ministry, the exercise, which began on December 19, was attended by top defense officials on both sides, including Cambodia’s deputy prime minister and Vietnam’s deputy defense minister.

The simulated scenario for the exercise focused on the low-level atmospheric circulation of a tropical cyclone, which had caused chemical spills in several areas of Chanthrea district in the Cambodian province of Svay Rieng and subsequently saw Vietnamese and Cambodian personnel cooperating to establish and operate a joint command post to deal with the incident. In terms of participating personnel, Vietnam sent troops from the Corps, the Military Region 7 Command, and the Long An Provincial Military Command to the exercise, while Cambodia sent troops from the Svay Rieng Military Sub-region, a border guard battalion and the Gendarmerie of Svay Rieng province, and personnel from other relevant units. ... -exercise/
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