Thai Ambassador for India Chutintorn Gongsakdi on Thursday reacted to Thailand's involvement in the BIMSTEC field training military exercise in Pune.
Gongsakdi said that Thailand is absolutely committed to BIMSTEC and is observing the field training military exercise in Pune. Thailand has sent military observers and not troops for the field training exercise.
Talking about Thailand's inability to send the troops, Gongsakdi said that it is an unforeseen event and Thailand was unable to send the troops due to the fiscal year ending in September.
Thailand and Nepal are the only countries to have sent military observers and not troops for the exercise.
Nepal had decided to skip BIMSTEC and its newly appointed Army chief Purna Chandra Thapa had declined an invite by the Indian army citing prior commitments.
The development comes in the backdrop of China's growing overtures towards Nepal for deeper economic and security cooperation. Last month, Nepal had announced that it would participate in a military exercise with China.
The militaries of BIMSTEC member nations, barring Nepal and Thailand, began a week-long anti-terror exercise at Aundh near Pune on Monday to enhance cooperation in dealing with the challenge of terrorism in the region.
Each participating country has sent its troops as well as a three-member team as observers. Though Nepal and Thailand are not participating in the exercise, both the countries sent observers for it.
The Indian Army has organised a conclave of army chiefs of the participating countries on September 16, and barring Nepal, all the countries have accepted the invitation.
The BIMSTEC is a regional grouping comprising Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal. The grouping accounts for 22 percent of the global population and has a combined gross domestic product of USD 2.8 trillion.
Indian Army officials said the exercise is focused on boosting inter-operability among the forces and exchanging best practices to contain terror-related activities.
They said the long-term goal of the initiative is to explore the possibility of creating a viable regional security architecture to deal with the challenge of terrorism and transnational crimes.
(With Agency inputs)