The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony today offered to discuss with Thailand possible areas of cooperation and collaboration in Defence production. During talks with his Thai counterpart Air Chief Marshal Sukumpol Suwanatat in Bangkok, Shri Antony said India has, over the years, developed a well established defence industry which can meet varying requirements of the Thai Armed Forces. He said India would welcome the visit of Thai teams to various Defence production facilities. Shri Antony said conscious planning, hard work by our scientists and support by the government is resulting in the growth of a strong defence industrial base in the country.
The talks between the two ministers covered a wide range of issues including regional security concerns. Shri Antony said both our countries have large stakes in the maintenance of peace and stability in our immediate neighbourhood and in the wider Asia Pacific region. He said our trade is dependent on the sea lanes. Hence, security of the sea lanes and freedom of navigation is critical to our economic and overall security. India supports the freedom of navigation in accordance with the principles of international law.
Shri Antony said our view is that peace and stability is in the interest of all countries in the region. “We support the resolution of differences and disputes through the process of dialogue and consensus between the parties to such disputes. All countries must exercise restraint and resolve issues diplomatically, according to the principles of international law”.
Shri Antony said New Delhi has been of the consistent view that ASEAN is central to any security architecture for the region. “India is committed to efforts of ADMM Plus, ARF and the East Asia Summit for promoting dialogue and consensus building among all countries of the region”, he said.
Earlier on his arrival at the Thai Ministry of Defence, Shri Antony was accorded an Inter-Services Guard of Honour. The Thai Defence Minister also hosted a lunch in honour of Shri Antony and his delegation.