Bangkok- Thailandshould link up with the new regional anti-terrorism centre to be based in Malaysiato battle the terrorist threat, said visiting US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. He has reason to encourage Thailand’s participation: The centre will receive equipment and intelligence support from Washington.
By signing up for membership, Thailandwill have access to a freer flow of information. The centre’s comprehensive intelligence network will also allow the Thai government to keep a tighter pulse on the terrorist situation.
During his talks with Thai Defence Minister, General Thammarak Isarangkura na Ayudhaya, on June 5, Mr Rumsfeld said Thailand’s role in the new centre would help extend anti-terrorist coverage in the region.
According to a source in the Thai Defence Ministry, the centre will work on two fronts to counter both international terrorism as well as piracy in the Malacca Straits through coordination with Singaporeand Indonesia. As to Washington’s role, the source said that apart from intelligence assistance, the USwill also supply the centre with everything from modern technological apparatus to aerial maps.
Gen Thammarak said on June 7 that Thailandis ready to cooperate with the new regional centre through the exchange of intelligence information. “And that is how far we will go. There will be no troop contributions.”
· Rumsfeld: Terror threat rising (Bangkok Post, June 7) - www.bangkokpost.com <http://www.bangkokpost.com>
· Intelligence cooperation, but no troops (Bangkok Post, June 8) - www.bangkokpost.com <http://www.bangkokpost.com>