Thailand and Laos have agreed to step up patrols and cooperation to combat the thriving narcotics trade along their common border.
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon sealed the pact yesterday in Vientiane at the 26th meeting of the Thai-Lao General Border Committee (GBC), according to Defence Ministry spokesman Kongcheep Tantravanich.
Lt Gen Kongcheep said Gen Prawit also met with Lao President Bounnhang Vorachith and National Defence Minister Gen Chansamon Chan-gnalat. The spokesman said the two sides agreed to become closer partners in strategic developments benefiting both countries.
Specifically, security patrols on the common border along the Mekong River will be stepped up. Also, the two governments will exchange intelligence on trans-border drug smuggling and the movements of fugitive criminals.
In addition, the meeting touched on cooperation to prevent cross-border smuggling and to fight haze created by forest fires, which affects both countries.
Military units connected to drug suppression in both countries will work together to prevent and counter trafficking.
Meanwhile, anti-narcotic agencies from both countries will meet annually to discuss developments and plan countermeasures.
Delegates also agreed on cooperation to crack down on border-trafficking in humans, wild animals and plants, by boosting security measures and exchange of information, Lt Gen Kongcheep said.
The security measures will extend to tighter rules on dual-nationality holders who regularly cross the Thai-Lao border.
The spokesman said Thailand was ready to begin an exchange programme for medical personnel and those pursuing military studies.