Act East Policy Current Affairs - 2019

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2019 Indo Pacific Chiefs of Defence Conference to be held in Thailand

The 2019 Indo Pacific Chiefs of Defence (CHOD) Conference will be held in Thailand’s capital city Bangkok. In this conference, India will be represented by Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) and Chief of the Air Staff- Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa.

2019 CHOD Conference

Theme for conference: “Collaboration in a free and Open Indo – Pacific”.

It will see participation of Chiefs of Defence of more than 33 countries.

It will provide perspectives on common challenges faced by attending nations and elicit open discussions on the same.

Significance for India: The participation of Indian Chairman COSC will provide further impetus towards increasing defence cooperation with Thailand. It will also pave way for greater interaction and cooperation in future.

India-Thailand defence relations

It has gained momentum consequent to India’s Look/ Act East Policy along with overall improvement in relations at political, economic and cultural levels. Military Cooperation has been nominated by Joint Working Group on Security Cooperation both countries (initiated in May 2003). It has been one of the seven primary areas of focus to strengthen cooperation between countries.  This was re-enforced in joint statement issued during Thai Prime Minister’s official visit to India in January 2012. Both countries also have commemorated 70th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations in 2017. Such cooperation and visits will contribute towards India being natural partner of Thailand for regional collaborative security initiatives.

DD India channel to be available in Bangladesh, South Korea

In bid to boost India’s relations with its neighbours, the government has entered into agreements with Bangladesh and South Korea to broadcast DD (Doordarshan) India channel in two countries and their state channels will be shown on DD Free Dish in India.

Key Highlights

Bangladesh Agreement: As per the agreement inked with Bangladesh, Indian government has decided to show BTV World, a channel owned by Bangladesh TV, on DD Free Dish which will be available for viewers of Doordarshan (around 35 million households) in India. Also, DD India would be made available in Bangladesh for being viewed by Bangladesh’s citizen.

In this regard a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has already been signed between Prasar Bharati and Bangladesh TV (BTV) on 7 May 2019.

South Korea Agreement: Indian government has also approved Prasar Bharati (India’s Broadcasting agency) proposal for making available KBS World, a 24×7 South Korean channel (English) for Indian viewers and simultaneously South Korean people would be able to view DD India in their country.

Significance: This move is part of a robust cultural exchange in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Act East policy and also marks an important watershed moment with respect to strengthening of ties between two countries. The step is also in line with importance of building mutual cooperation with neighbouring countries.