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Thailand Commits to Strengthening Philippine Defense Industries

Thailand has pledged robust support for Philippine defense industries to enhance regional defense capabilities. This commitment was reaffirmed during a recent high-level meeting between Defense Undersecretary Angelito de Leon and Admiral Adoong Pan-Inam, commander in chief of the Royal Thai Navy, held at the Department of National Defense (DND) headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo.

Admiral Adoong’s three-day visit to Manila as a guest of the Philippine Navy underscored Thailand’s willingness to deepen ties with the Philippines in defense matters. According to the DND, discussions primarily focused on integrating Thailand into the Philippines’ comprehensive archipelagic defense concept. This initiative aims to forge Thailand as a strategic partner in advancing the local defense industry’s capabilities.

During the meeting, Undersecretary de Leon outlined the Philippines’ aspirations for self-sufficiency in defense, a goal that dates back to President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s administration in the 1970s. Despite past challenges in sustaining these efforts due to financial constraints in research and development, the DND remains steadfast in its pursuit to bolster domestic defense capabilities.

Admiral Adoong, in turn, shared Thailand’s successful strategies in manufacturing ammunition, weapons, missiles, and naval assets, highlighting their expertise in producing offshore patrol vessels and frigate spare parts. This knowledge exchange forms part of the broader memorandum of understanding ratified between the Philippines and Thailand in 2021, aimed at expanding defense-industrial cooperation. The agreement encompasses joint ventures in defense trade and collaborative research, development, and production initiatives.

Moreover, both parties explored avenues for enhancing cybersecurity through partnerships with technology and systems developers. This initiative aims to fortify cybernetworks critical to national defense, aligning with contemporary challenges in digital security.

The meeting strongly emphasized the mutual commitment to intensify navy-to-navy engagements through established dialogue mechanisms. This commitment underscores the growing strategic partnership between the Philippines and Thailand, highlighting shared regional security and stability interests.

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