• Stepping up its engagement with countries in East Asia, India  held the first meeting of defence dialogue with Thailand, taken in line with the agreement between the two countries reached earlier this year.

  • Both sides exchanged views on the regional security issues and reviewed ongoing programmes including joint exercises, training of personnel, diplomatic sources said adding that work has begun on a possible Memorandum of Understanding in the area.

  • The dialogue also assumes significance since India has invited Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to be the chief guest at next year's Republic Day parade. Thailand Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, is scheduled to visit New Delhi from December 26 to 28 for a meeting of the Joint Commission.

  • The defence dialogue with Bangkok comes close on the heels of New Delhi's similar engagement with countries including South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, among others in East Asia.
  • Defence cooperation between India and Thailand comprises regular joint exercises/joint maritime patrols near the international maritime boundary to counter terrorism, piracy and smuggling; training of officers at each others' Armed Forces Training institutions and participation as observers in military exercises, staff talks and exchange of trainee visits at various levels.
  •   Coastal security

  • During the visit of the then Thailand Prime Minister, Abhijit Vejjajiva, in April this year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced that both New Delhi and Bangkok agreed to strengthen defence cooperation by having senior official-level dialogue between the Defence Ministries. Both sides decided to cooperate to secure vital sealanes of communications in the Indian Ocean.