Thailand and France boost defence ties with 200 billion baht deal

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

Thai and French officials convened a special seminar to enhance the defence industries of both nations, with Thailand aiming to procure defence products valued at 200 billion baht over the next two decades.

Defence Minister Sutin Klungsang and the French Ambassador to Thailand Jean-Claude Poimboeuf opened the Thailand-France Seminar on the Defence Industry 2024 at the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence. The event attracted numerous high-level officials from defence-related agencies and 100 entrepreneurs from both Thailand and France.

The seminar was part of an agreement outlined in a letter of intent (LOI) jointly signed by Thailand’s Defence Industry and Energy Centre and France’s defence procurement agency, the Direction Generale de l’Armement (DGA), on May 17. This LOI aims to establish guidelines and facilitate the exchange of ideas to encourage investment and create a network between Thai and French defence industries. The effort aligns with the Thai government’s objective to bolster the country’s capability to produce its defence products.

Sutin highlighted that ongoing conflicts in Europe and the Middle East have led many countries to deplete their defence equipment stockpiles, resulting in heightened arms accumulation and investment in defence industries.

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“Thailand is currently producing four types of defence products: armoured vehicles, warships, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and firearms and ammunition.”

Sutin noted that these products have the potential to be sold to countries in ASEAN, the Middle East, and Africa.

The Thai defence minister revealed that the Thai government plans to procure 200 billion baht worth of defence vehicles, warships, UAVs, firearms, and ammunition. Manufacturing these products domestically could generate significant revenue for the Thai economy.

The seminar followed Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s meeting with the French president in France in May and Sutin’s visit to Paris in June for the Eurosatory 2024 exhibition, reported Bangkok Post.

In related news, Sutin axed 44 of his advisers following bribery allegations. The move came after reports surfaced suggesting that some of his advisers were taking bribes from military units and related agencies.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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