The bilateral defense ties between India & Thailand were strengthened by Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha’s visit to Thailand for “Act East policy”. He held official talks with Gen Worapong Sanganetra, Chief of Defence Forces of Thailand, Commander-in-Chief of Royal Thai Air Force Treetod Sonjance and Gen Udomdej Sitabutr, Thai Deputy Minister of Defence. Thereby both sides agreed for cooperation to be ramped up among Bay of Bengal countries to deal with sea migration issues, disaster management & information exchange.
Thailand expressed more interest on subjects related to manufacture of defence equipment & military to military exchange in the higher level.
Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha was presented with the guard of honour at the Royal Thai Armed Forces headquarters.
Admiral R. K. Dhowan, Chief of Naval Staff of India also had an official visit to Thailand at the invitation of Admiral Kraison Chansuwanit, Commander-in Chief of the Royal Thai Navy on 23–26 July 2015. During that visits various things were agreed upon which include
- To explore bilateral cooperation in ship-building and ship construction projects.
- Anti-piracy as area with high importance and exploring the possibility of cooperation in hydrographic surveys.
- Exchanged views for developing Road Map for defense cooperation.
- To exchange white shipping information to complement each other’s Maritime Domain Awareness.
- Air Chief Marshal Raha is also Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee.
- “Look East Policy” was first formulated by Narasimha Rao, the former Indian Prime Minister in the 1990s
- “Act East Policy” was unveiled by Narendra Modi at ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) Summit on Nov 2014 at Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw. It was to convince his counterparts for boosting ties in the region.
- “Act East” was popularized US Secretary Hillary Clinton’s speech during her visit to India in July 2011. She insisted New Delhi “not just to look East, but to engage East and act East.”