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Sunday, May 22, 2005

India to hold joint maritime patrols with Thailand to reduce piracy and smuggling

In a further sign of India working on a safer maritime environment, it has committed to join with Thailand as reported here:
India on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Thailand for joint maritime patrols to prevent piracy and arms smuggling.

Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Arun Prakash and his Thai counterpart Admiral Sampop Amrapala, signed the agreement in Bangkok.

In an interview to The Hindu , Admiral Prakash, who attended an international maritime event here before he left for Bangkok on Thursday, said the accord would help to ensure "the whole vulnerable area of the Andaman Sea is generally covered by joint patrols" with the relevant countries. India already entered into similar agreements with Indonesia and Sri Lanka. An understanding with Myanmar too could be reached in future...

One of New Delhi's main concerns was the suspected smuggling of arms across the Andaman Sea to India's north-eastern States and Sri Lanka...

Admiral Prakash said a broader defence cooperation agreement would be discussed with Thailand. Singapore was perhaps among the first countries with which India developed "a close cooperation" in all three military wings. The interactions with Singapore "seems to be progressing on the right lines ... and the outlook is bright"...

On India's defence links with Japan, Admiral Prakash said, "Of late, a certain convergence of interests has emerged". As for Japan's "seaborne-energy needs", India "happens to sit astride the [relevant] sea lanes". In the event of "turbulence" along these lanes, "the Indian Navy would have a major role to play".

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