On the 4th and 5th of September 2023, the Royal Thai Navy made a significant visit to India, with the primary aim of fortifying bilateral and military relations between the two nations. This visit symbolized the continuation of a long-standing partnership and a shared commitment to maritime cooperation.
The three-member delegation from the Royal Thai Navy embarked on this insightful journey to the Warship Design Bureau of the Indian Navy, located in New Delhi. The visit was a pivotal step towards fostering cooperation between the two navies in the fields of ship design and construction, as mutually agreed upon during the 12th Indian Navy and Royal Thailand Navy discussions.
The diplomatic ties between India and Thailand were established in 1947, shortly after India gained independence from British colonial rule. These two nations share a substantial sea border along the Andaman Sea, underscoring the significance of maritime relations. Since 2001, both countries have witnessed a steady growth in their relationship, marked by increased economic and commercial exchanges, high-level visits, and the signing of various agreements, all contributing to the deepening of their relations.
The Royal Thai Navy’s delegation, during their visit from September 4th to 5th, 2023, was headed by Captain Jakarin, Royal Thai Navy’s Defence Attache. They engaged in a productive interaction with Rear Admiral IB Uthaiah, Director General of the Warship Design Bureau, Indian Navy.
The visit included a comprehensive exploration of various aspects of shipbuilding and ship design, with a special focus on India’s domestic naval shipbuilding capabilities. The delegation was given insights into the locations where these naval vessels are constructed, offering them a firsthand look at India’s shipbuilding prowess.
Additionally, the delegation was treated to tours of various facilities, demonstrations of design tools, presentations on best practices, insights into model testing capabilities, and an overview of India’s domestic equipment manufacturing ecosystem. They engaged in discussions with subject matter experts from the Warship Design Bureau, covering various facets of ship design and shipbuilding. The delegation also had plans to visit Goa Shipyard Limited to gain further insights into diverse construction techniques used in shipbuilding.
Both India and Thailand are active participants in several multilateral forums, including ASEAN, the ASEAN Regional Forum, the East Asia Summit, and the BIMSTEC sub-regional grouping. These memberships facilitate greater regional cooperation and dialogue. Thailand has an embassy in New Delhi and consulates in Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai, signifying the depth of their diplomatic engagement.
One notable aspect of this visit is the shared interest of India and Thailand in strengthening military relations, especially in the maritime domain. The maritime regions, including the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, are witnessing increased strategic significance, particularly in the face of China’s assertive actions. Both nations recognize the importance of a united front against such challenges, given their historical ties and shared concerns regarding regional stability.