"Thailand Defence & Security Report Q2 2013" Published

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Thu May 23 2013

BMI's Thailand Defence & Security Report for Q2 2013 examines the country's strategic position in South East Asia and the wider world. It provides an overview of the contemporary geopolitical challenges facing the country, and the challenges it may face in the future.

The report examines the trends occurring in the country's current and future defence procurement, and the order of battle across its armed forces. The report's general conclusion is that the relative political and social calm that currently prevails in Thailand looks set to continue in the short to medium term. However, the process of reconciliation that started in 2011-12 by the royalist-military elite and the elected Puea Thai administration of Yingluck Shinawatra appear to have stalled over the highly contentious issue of whether to allow former leader Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck's brother, to return to Thailand. More broadly, the deep divisions that plunged Thailand into civil strife in 2010 remain, and the country remains prone to further instability. The passing of Thailand's long-serving and increasingly frail monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, looms on the horizon as a potentially destabilising event that could plunge Thailand back into turmoil.

Full Report Details at
- http://www.fastmr.com/prod/589248_thailand_defence_security_report_q2_2013.aspx?afid=303

However, Q1 2013 witnessed an unexpected breakthrough in the country’s long-running insurgency in the deep south as the government announced that it was due to open peace talks with the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), one of a number of insurgent Malay-Muslim groups. On the one hand, this was a positive step, signalling that Bangkok is finally willing to pursue alternatives to its failed military-led approach to handling the southern unrest. On the other hand, critics pointed out that the BRN is only one of around 10 militant groups operating in the south, and that talking to one group will not ensure the participation of the others. Nonetheless, the first round of talks, due to begin in Kuala Lumpur on 28 March, offers the chance of a new beginning, even if a lasting peace agreement remains a very long way off.

Thailand’s long-standing dispute with Cambodia is also set to return to the agenda. Though the two countries have refrained from violence along their disputed border in recent months, the International Court of Justice is set to convene a hearing in April to address the issue of the violence surrounding Preah Vihear temple, which is at the centre of the dispute. The hearing comes at Cambodia’s request, which is seeking clarifications on the 1962 ICJ ruling which confirmed Cambodian sovereignty over Preah Vihear. However, it could be that the proceedings only serve to stoke resentment between the two neighbours, rather than produce a lasting solution.

Over the last quarter BMI has revised the following forecasts/views:

* The prospect of peace talks between the Thai government and Muslim-Malay insurgents is discussed in detail.

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