India: AK Antony to visit Thailand tomorrow

Bangkok: Defence Minister AK Antony will visit Thailand on Thursday to discuss a wide range of issues, including security of sea lanes, cooperation in combating organised crime and anti-piracy measures, to further boost bilateral strategic ties.

Antony will be here is on a day-long official visit. His visit comes a week after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Thailand.

“India Thai defence and security ties have seen all round development in recent years,” India’s Ambassador to Thailand Anil Wadhwa said.

“Both sides have expanded their range of bilateral activities from training and exercises to visits and exchange of information in the defence field and have come to realise that as maritime neighbours and trading nations their interest lies in security of the sea lanes, and cooperation in combating organised crime, terrorism and cooperation in managing their coastal defences,” he said.

Thai Defence minister visited India in December last year. During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Bangkok on May 30, India and Thailand had agreed to enhance anti- piracy cooperation, promote security of sea lanes and Coast Guard cooperation to contribute to the maintenance of peace in the region and to work towards ensuring safety and security of navigation in the Indian Ocean.

Thailand also expressed interest in India’s defence industry, which has competitive production and advanced technology.

Both countries agreed to pursue defence industry collaboration in areas of mutual interest. The two sides have welcomed the deepening of cooperation through the Joint Working Group on Security Cooperation.

At the last joint working group meeting the two countries agreed to expedite the implementation of the five year programme finalised by the group.

The Defence Minister, who is currently on a three-nation tour, will return home on Thursday. 


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