Interaction with a Thai Delegation
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In continuation of their efforts to set up a premier think tank in Thailand, a ten-member delegation of Thai defence and security experts, led by Mr. Vera Urairat, Deputy Director General, National Security Council Secretariat, Thailand, visited the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) on 02 March 2016 for an interaction, aimed partly at getting acquainted about the VIF – its vision, thrust areas of study, faculty etc, and partly at discussing potentials of cooperation in areas of common strategic interests – maritime security, terrorism and cyber security, to name a few.

In his welcome remarks, General NC Vij, a former Chief of the Indian Army, wished the delegation all success in their endeavour and promised to support them in his capacity as the current Director of the Foundation. Elaborating on the VIF’s vision & mission, General Vij underlined that conflict avoidance rather than conflict management has been the guiding light behind the VIF’s core mission. While he underscored India’s ‘Look East Policy’ and Thailand’s ‘Look West Policy’ compliment each other, he also stressed the strategic significance of Thailand in India’s ‘Look east Policy’, a point well received by the leader of Thai delegation. The Director further stressed that as maritime neighbours both India and Thailand have a shared interest in securing freedom of navigation and sea lanes of communication crisscrossing the Indo-Pacific waters.

As part of the interaction, presentations were made by the VIF’s team of experts on maritime security, terrorism, and cyber security, broadly in the context of bilateral cooperation between India and Thailand. Adm (retd) Anup Singh, while highlighting the growing threats of non-traditional security, especially in the maritime domain of Asia-pacific region, harped on the necessity of stepping up maritime security cooperation between the two countries and also urged the participants to think through a cooperative mechanism among like minded countries to ensure avoidance of a single country’s dominance of the strategic choke points in the region while keeping the non-traditional security challenges at bay. Through a highly calibrated and illuminating presentation, Lt Gen (retd) RK Sawhney, Dean, Centre for Defence Studies, VIF, spelt out the dangers posed by Daesh to liberal and secular countries around the world. While he underlined the need to fight Daesh both on physical and ideological plains, he also advised against using terms like Islamic State and Jihad as it legitimizes their barbaric activities. He further suggested that Internet Imams (clerics) preaching moderate versions of Islam in the form of story-telling could be used as a powerful tool against Daesh, a model successfully used by Singapore. The use of internet by certain states to bring down their adversaries and by non-state actors including terrorists to carry out their nefarious activities came out quite vividly in the presentation made by Lt Gen (retd) Davinder Kumar.

The presentations were followed by an interactive session through which Adm (retd) KK Nyaar, Amb Sanjay Singh, Mr. PC Halder, former Chief Intelligence Bureau, Mr. KM Singh, the newly appointed Chairman & Managing Director of state-run power producer NHPC, among others, participated in a free and candid exchange of views with the visiting delegates. While appreciating views of the Indian interlocutors on the subjects discussed, Mr. Vera Urairat said, he is looking forward to continue the dialogue in future, views reciprocated in equal measures by the VIF Director.

Event Date 
March 2, 2016
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