Defence Defence



Thailand shares common maritime borders with India and has strategic geo-location in the South-East Asian region. The Defence cooperation between the two countries is growing steadily and forms an important aspect of the multifaceted relationship between India and Thailand.  Bilateral defence relations between India and Thailand gained momentum consequent to India’s Look East Policy which was upgraded to Act East Policy with an overall improvement in relations at political, economic and cultural levels. Thailand also reciprocates this with their Look West Policy (1996).  Political directions at the highest level have emphasized furthering  defence cooperation amongst the armed forces, especially at the operational level. The Joint Working Group on Security Cooperation, initiated in May 2003, had nominated Military Cooperation as one of the seven primary areas of focus to strengthen cooperation.

The MoU on Defence Cooperation between India and Thailand was signed on 25 Jan 2012.  Pursuance of the contents of the endorsed MoU provides the right impetus and direction to the ongoing bilateral Defence Cooperation initiatives. The India-Thailand defence cooperation comprises of regular joint exercises / joint maritime patrols near the international maritime boundary to counter terrorism, piracy and smuggling; training of officers at each other’s Armed Forces Training institutions, service staff talks and exchange of visits at various levels. After lifting of CoVID related restrictions in 2022, the mutual Subject Matter Expert exchange visits and ports calls by Indian Ships have recommenced.

The initiatives in the field of Defence Cooperation, during the last few years, have resulted in a large number of high-level exchange visits.  Certain important visits of the recent past are as follows: -

From Thailand

(a) Air Chief Marshal PadetWongpinkaew, Chairman, RTAF Advisory Group with spouse & 02 Staff Officers visited Bangalore, India from 14-18 Feb 17 for Aero India 2017.

(b) Admiral LuechaiRuddit, Commander-in-Chief, RTN visited India from 18- 21 Dec 2018. During his visit he Called on Hon’ble RakshaMantri and CNS.  He also visited Western Naval Command at Mumbai and was taken on board INS Kolkata and INS Sindhuvijay.

(c) A six member delegation of Thai MECC, headed by Rear Admiral visited India to attend the Head of Asian Coast Guard Agency Meeting from 14-18 Oct 22. 

From India

(a) Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff was on official visit to Thailand from 16 to 19 Apr 19.  During the visit he Called on Admiral LuechaiRuddit, C-in-C of RTN and Admiral NavapolDamrongpong, Dy Chief of Defence Forces.

(b) Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, Chairman COSC & CAS visited Bangkok to attend Chiefs of Defence Conference from 26-28 Aug 2019.

(c)Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Bangkok from 02-04 Nov to attend the 35th ASEAN Summit and Related events.

(d) Shri Rajnath Singh, Hon’ble Defence Minister of India led the 05 member MoD delegation on an official visit to Thailand from 16-18 Nov 19 to attend ADMM-Plus.

(e) Three member Indian MoD delegation led by Joint Secretary Naval Systems visited Thailand to participate in the Defence and Security 22 exhibition from 29 Aug 22 to 31 Aug 22.

The defence industry cooperation between the two countries has also seen a steady increase. Both sides participate in each other’s Defence related exhibitions like Aero India, DefExpo and Defence & Security exhibitions. Senior Defence Officials from both the countries visit these exhibitions to promote further cooperation. In 2022 edition of Defence and Security Exhibition held at Bangkok, ten Indian companies participated and showcased their equipment. Many Indian companies have already successfully delivered reliable military equipment to Royal Thai Armed Forces.