India -Thailand Relations

India and Thailand, located in each other’s extended neighborhood, share a maritime boundary in the Andaman Sea. India’s bilateral relations with Thailand are rooted in history, age-old social and cultural interactions and extensive people to people contacts. The shared link of Buddhism is reflected in regular pilgrimages to places of Buddhist interest in India by a large number of Thai people. Hindu elements can be found among those reflected in Thai architecture, arts, sculpture, dance, drama and literature. The Thai language incorporates Pali and Sanskrit influences. A large Indian Diaspora living and working in Thailand is another important bond.

Download PDF India – Thailand Relations

In the past two decades, with regular political exchanges, growing trade and investment, India’s ties with Thailand have now evolved into a comprehensive partnership. India’s ‘Act East’ policy has been complemented by Thailand’s ‘Look West’ policy in bringing the two countries closer. Both countries are important regional partners linking South and Southeast Asia. They cooperate closely in the ASEAN, East Asia Summit (EAS) and BIMSTEC groupings as also Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC), Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA). The India-AESAN Agreement on Trade in Goods was implemented in January 2010 and the India-ASEAN FTA in Services and Investments was signed in September 2014 and came into force in July 2015.

Exchange of High Level Visits

Dignitary visiting Thailand

Period

PM Dr. Manmohan Singh

July 2004, Oct 2009, 30-31 May 2013

PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Nov 2002 (transit), Oct 2003

PM P. V. Narasimha Rao

April 1993

PM Rajiv Gandhi

Oct 1986

President V. V. Giri

1972

Vice President Dr. Zakir Hussain

1966

Dignitary visiting India

Period

HRH Princess Chulabhorn.

February 2013, Feb 2015

PM Yingluck Shinawatra

24-26 Jan 2012, 20-21 Dec 2012

HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha

November 2011, June 2015

PM Abhisit Vejjajiva

April 2011

HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn

December 1998, Nov 2010

PM Somchai Wongsawat

Nov 2008

PM Surayud Chulanont

June 2007

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn

1987, 1996, 2001, 2004, March 2005, Nov

2005, March 2007, Aug 2007, March 2008,

Feb 2009, Aug 2009, March 2011, Oct 2011,

Feb 2014, July 2014

PM Thaksin Shinawatra

Nov 2001, Feb 2002, June 2005

PM Gen Chatichai Choonhavan

March 1989

During 2015, Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs (EAM) visited Thailand to co- chair the 7th Meeting of India-Thailand Joint Commission and to attend the 16th World

Sanskrit Conference in Bangkok from 27-29 June 2015. EAM called on HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and Gen Prem Tinsulanonda, President of the Privy Council of Thailand. EAM and DPM & Minister of Foreign Affairs Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn held delegation level talks and exchanged the Instruments of Ratification of Extradition Treaty and signed the revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement, MOU on Nalanda University and witnessed signing of MOU on establishing a Chair on Ayurveda at Rangsit University.Smt. Nirmala

Sitharaman, Minister of State (I/C) for Commerce and Industry visited Thailand to attend the

71st Commission Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) on 28-29 May 2015. She held a bilateral meeting Dr. Shamshad

Akhtar, Executive Secretary of UNESCAP. The Minister also called on M. R. Pridiyathorn Devakula, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand and General Chatchai Sarikulya, Minister of Commerce of Thailand and addressed the business event organized by the Embassy. Shri

Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor visited Thailand on 1-2 April 2015. He called on PM Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, DPM & Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, DPM& FM Gen Tanasak

Patimapragorn and met Mr. Anusit Kunakorn, Secretary General of the National Security Council of Thailand.

DPM and Minister of Foreign Affairs General Tanasak Patimapragorn visited India on 10-11 March 2015. He attended Delhi Dialogue VII, called on Defence Minister Shri Manohar

Parrikar and held delegation level talks with EAM Smt. Sushma Swaraj. Secretary (DIPP) gave a presentation of ‘Make in India’ to the visiting Thai delegation. Commerce Minister Chatchai Sarikalya visited India from 24-26 Feb 2015.

During 2014, PM Narendra Modi discussed bilateral issues of mutual interest with PM

General Prayut Chan-o-cha on the sidelines of ASEAN Summit in Nay Pyi Taw on 12 November 2014. Shri Kiren Rijiju, MoS for Home Affairs participated in the first Ministerial Conference on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics in Asia and the Pacific on 27 & 28

November 2014 in Bangkok.Mrs. Maneka Gandhi, Minister of Women and Child Development visited Bangkok to attend Asian and Pacific Conference on “Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Beijing +20 Review” on 19-20 November 2014. Earlier, Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Home Affairs participated in the 6th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Bangkok from 23-26 June 2014. General Thanasak

Patimaprakorn, Chief of Defence Forces, Royal Thai Armed Forces led a Thai delegation on an official visit to India from 28-30 June 2014. General Thanasak called on Arun Jaitley, Defence and FM and met General Bikram Singh, Chief of Army Staff in New Delhi.

PM Dr. Manmohan Singh accompanied by EAM Salman Khurshid and senior officials paid an official visit to Thailand at the invitation of PM Yingluck Shinawatra on 30-31 May 2013.He presented a sapling of Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya as a special gift to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej as a symbol of the shared cultural heritage. PM held wide-ranging talks with PM Yingluck Shinawatra on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest. During the visit, six agreements/MoUs were signed and a joint statement was released.

PM Yingluck Shinawatrapaid a State visit to India from 24-26 January 2012 as the Chief Guest for India’s Republic Day celebrations. Six agreements/ MoUs were signed during the visit – the 2ndProtocol to amend bilateral Framework Agreement for FTA, MoU on Defence,

Programme of Cooperation in Science & Technology, Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced

Persons, Cultural Exchange Programme 2012-14 and an MoU for ICCR to establish a Chair at India Studies Centre in Chulalongkorn University. Thai PM met PM on sidelines of the 10th India-ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh in November 2012. PM Yingluck Shinawatra visited

India again to participate in the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit in New Delhi in

December 2012. She visited Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya en route to New Delhi.

Thailand-India Parliamentary Friendship Group (TIPFG) was formed in the National Assembly of Thailand in 2008 and reconstituted in 2011 and again in 2014. A counterpart group was formed in India in December 2011. Thai Parliamentary delegation led by Senator

Mr. KrichAtitkaew, President, TIPFG visited India in August 2012. A 19 member delegation led by Mrs. Meira Kumar, Speaker of Lok Sabha visited Bangkok for the 122ndAssembly of Inter Parliamentary Union inMarch 2010.

Bilateral Institutional Mechanisms

Joint Commission Meeting (JCM): India-Thailand JCM is at Foreign Ministers level. EAMand DPM & FM Gen Tanasak co-chaired the 7th session of India-Thailand JCM on 29

June 2015. Wide-ranging discussions were held in the areas of economic and commercial cooperation, culture, S & T, ICT, education, agriculture, legal and consular matters. The 6th

JCM was held in New Delhi in December 2011.

Foreign office Consultations (FOC): India-Thailand FOC was held in New Delhi on 8

September 2014. Sihasak Phuangketkeow, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Secretary (East) exchanged views on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest. Earlier FOC was held in Bangkok on 10 August 2012.

Defence Dialogue:Raksha Mantri Manohar Parrikar met DPM & Defence Minister of Thailand on the sidelines of ADMM+ in Kuala Lumpur on 3 November 2015. Admiral R. K.

Dhowan, Chief of Naval Staff paid an official visit to Thailand from 23-26 July 2015. ACM Arup Raha, Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee visited Thailand on 6-9 Sept 2015.The fourth meeting of India-Thailand Defence Dialogue was held in Bangkok on 21-22 December 2015. A bilateral MOU on Defence cooperation was signed in January 2012. The current Defence cooperation comprises regular joint exercises/joint maritime patrols near the international maritime boundary to counter terrorism, piracy and smuggling; training of officers at each others’ institutions and participation as observers in military exercises.

Economic & Commercial Partnership

Bilateral Trade:The last few years have seen a rapid growth in bilateral trade, which crossed US$ 9 billion mark in year 2013-14. The Framework Agreement on India-Thailand FTA was signed in Bangkok in October 2003 and the second protocol to amend it was signed during the visit of Thai PM to New Delhi in January 2012.

(Amount in billion US$)

Description

2008-09

2009-10

2010-

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

April–Sept

11

2015

Thai Exports

2.70

2.93

4.27

5.38

5.46

5.36

5.86

1.89

Thai Imports

1.94

1.74

2.27

2.96

3.73

3.70

3.48

1.53

Total Trade

4.64

4.67

6.54

8.34

9.19

9.06

9.32

3.42

Source: Department of Commerce, Government of India

FDI in India and Indian Investments in Thailand: Indian FDI into Thailand is around US$ 2 billion since 1970s. Major investments from India to Thailand are in sectors such as agricultural products, minerals & ceramics, metal products and machinery, electrical and electronic products, chemicals and textiles. Actual inflow of FDI from Thailand into India from April 2000 to July 2015 is registered as US $196.40 million. Thai investments are mainly in infrastructure, real estate, food processing, chemicals, and hotel and hospitality sector.

Major Indian groups namely Tata group (automobiles, steel, software), Aditya Birla group

(chemicals, textiles), Indo Rama group (chemicals), Lupin (pharmaceuticals),Ranbaxy, Dabur, Bharti Airtel, NIIT, Punj-Lloyd, Kirloskar and public sector enterprises Indian

Overseas Bank, Bank of Baroda, Air India, New India Assurance are present in Thailand. Leading Thai companies in the fields of Agro-processing, infrastructure, banking,automotive, engineering, housing and hospitality have active and growing business presence in India.

Major Thai companies active in India are – C P Aquaculture (India) Ltd., Krung Thai Bank Pcl.,Ital Thai Development Pcl., Charoen Pokphand (India) Private Limited, Stanley Electric

Engineering India Pvt. Ltd., Thai Summit Neel Auto Pvt. Ltd., Thai Airways, and Precious

Shipping (PSL) of Thailand, Preuksa Real Estate, Dusit and Amari group of hotels.

Connectivity: Air connectivity between India and Thailand is growing with around 150 flights per week, reflecting rapidly growing passenger traffic between the two countries. Bangkok is connected by air to 9 Indian destinations. India and Thailand are cooperating closely on improving regional connectivity through initiatives such as India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway, Asian Highway Network (under UNESCAP), BTILS under BIMSTEC framework. The 2nd bilateral JWG on Infrastructure and Connectivity and 7th Task Force Meeting on the

Trilateral Transport Linkage Project wereheld in Bangkok on 29 & 30 September 2014.Secretaries of Transport of India, Myanmar and Thailand met in Chennai (April 2015);

Bengaluru (June 2015) and Bangkok (July 2015) to finalize the Trilateral Motor Vehicles Agreement. In 2015, over 1 million Indian tourists visited Thailand and around 120,000 Thai tourists visited India (mainly to Buddhist pilgrimage sites).

Culture: Cultural exchanges take place under the framework of a Cultural Exchange

Programme (CEP) between the two governments. An Indian Cultural centre was opened in Bangkok in September 2009. Cultural Agreement Programme for 2012-14 has been signed during the visit of Thai PM in Jan 2012. A number of India Studies Centers are operational in prestigious Thai Universities. Regular visits of Indian cultural troupes are organized, in addition to Indian film and food festivals etc. Embassy in collaboration with Ministry of Culture and several local partners organized Festival of India in Thailand in March 2014 and the 2nd edition was organized from March-May 2015.Over 7400 people participated in the 1st International Yoga Day celebrations at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok on 21 June 2015.

Education:An MoU on Cooperation in the field of Education was signed in 2005. During 2014-15 Government of India offered 130 scholarships to Thai students under its ITEC and

ICCR sponsored schemes. A large number of Thai students are also studying on self- financing basis. Ministry of Human Resource Development provides for secondment of 8 professors every semester for the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Bangkok.

Government of India contributed Rupees 1.25 crores (Thai Baht 10 million) in 2008 towards construction of a new building for the Sanskrit Studies Centre at Silpakorn University, Bangkok and has deputed a Sanskrit professor. An India Studies Centre is functioning at the

Thammasat University of Bangkok since April 1993. In 2008, the Mahidol University of

Bangkok started a Masters of Arts course on Indian studies. A Chair in Chulalongkorn University’s India Study Centre was inaugurated by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhron on March 6, 2012.Ministry of AYUSH and Rangsit University signed an MOU on establishinga Chair on Ayurveda at Rangsit University was signed on 29 June 2015.

Indian Diaspora in Thailand: It is estimated that there are around 250,000 people of Indian origin in Thailand. Many of them have lived here for several generations over the past century. Majority of them hold Thai nationality. The Indian community mainly comprises

Sikhs, Punjabis, Gorakhpuris, Tamils and Sindhis. Two persons of Indian origin from Thailand have been awarded the Pravasi Samman in 2006 and 2010.

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Useful Resources:

Embassy of India, Bangkok Website:

http://www.indianembassy.in.th/

Embassy of India, Bangkok Facebook:

Indian Embassy Bangkok

January 2016

Curtain Raiser for the Second International day of Yoga 10th June 2016, Bangkok

At a Curtain Raiser to announce the commemoration of 2nd International Day of Yoga in Bangkok on Sunday, 26th June, 2016 at the Chulalongkorn University grounds, was held on 10 June, 2016 in Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. Ambassador Bhagwant Singh Bishnoi highlighted the importance of Yoga and its relevance in daily life.

The Vice President of the Chulalongkorn University Asst. Prof. Dr. Pomthong Malakul Na Ayudhaya represented the University. Around 100 persons including media persons, sponsors and representatives of Yoga studios attended the event. A short demonstration of Yoga Asanas was made by the team coordinated by Divine Yoga, Bangkok.

The Embassy of India, Bangkok is hosting a mass event at the prestigious Chulalongkorn University (Front Ground across Main Auditorium) on 26 June 2016 at 0630 hrs. A large number of participants are expected to attend the event. Free T-Shirt, refreshments and water will be given free to all participants.

Ms. Yada Theppanom, Miss Grand Thailand 2013, who would be a celebrity guest on 26th June, 2016, was also present during the Media Briefing Session.

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Visit of H.E. Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan, Dy PM Thailand to India

H.E. Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister visited India with a high level delegation from 17 to 18 Mar 2016. He was accompanied by Deputy Minister of Commerce Mr Suvit Maesincee, Secretary General of NSC Gen. Thawip Netiniyom, Permanent Secretary of Defence Gen Preecha Jan-o-cha, CDF Royal Thai Armed Forces Gen Sommai Kaotira, Police Gen Chakthip Chaijinda and other senior officers. During the visit he was accorded a cermonial reception and he also paid homage at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at the India Gate. Besides holding bilateral discussions with the Defence Minister of India, H.E. Mr. Manohar Parrikar, he also called on the Hon’ble Vice President and the National Security Advisor of India.

 

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ITEC DAY AND INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS DAY CELEBRATED IN BANGKOK

Around 140 ITEC alumni, ICCR Scholars and students from Indian studies program at Thai Universities participated at the ‘Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation Day (ITEC Day) and the ‘International Students’ Day’ celebrated at Hotel Holiday Inn, Bangkok on 18 March, 2016. Ms. Duriya Amatavivat, Assistant to Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education was the Chief Guest. Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Bhagwant Singh Bishnoi addressed the gathering.

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Courtesy Call on the Prime Minister of Kingdom of Thailand

การเข้าเยี่ยมคารวะ นายกรัฐมนตรีของประเทศไทย

Ambassador of India, H.E. Bhagwant Singh Bishnoi, paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, H.E. Gen.Prayut Chan-o-cha today at Government House.

Separately, Ambassador paid a courtesy call on H.E. Mr. Somkid Jatusripitak, Deputy Prime Minister and H.E. Gen. Wilas Aroonsri, Secretary-General of the Prime Minister today.

เอกอัครราชทูต ฯพณฯ บัควันท์ ซิงห์ บิชนอย เข้าเยี่ยมคารวะ พลเอกประยุทธ์ จันทร์โอชา นายกรัฐมนตรีของประเทศไทยในวันนี้ ณ ทำเนียบรัฐบาล

ท่านทูตยังได้เข้าเยี่ยมคารวะ ฯพณฯ นายสมคิด จาตุศรีพิทักษ์ รองนายกรัฐมนตรี และ พลเอก วิลาศ อรุณศรี เลขาธิการนายกรัฐมนตรี ในวันนี้เช่นเดียวกัน

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Thailand and India to strengthen bilateral ties

The new Indian Ambassador to Thailand, His Excellency Bhagwant Singh Bishno, met with Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha at the Government House to strengthen diplomatic relations between the two nations.

Deputy Government Spokesperson Maj Gen Weerachon Sukhontapatipak revealed that Gen Prayut expressed Thailand’s readiness to strengthen relations with India in every capacity.

These include technological cooperation, Islamic education for Thai students, as well as medical, beauty and wellness tourism.

The Prime Minister also praised his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for his investment schemes to stimulate economic growth, namely ‘Make in India,’ ‘Delhi Mumbai Economic Corridor,’ and ‘Smart Cities.’

Gen Prayut spoke with the Indian ambassador about Special Economic Zones and described their investment benefits, in the hopes that Indian investors will be drawn to these opportunities.

Both countries are also planning to promote closer military ties and anti-terrorism efforts. Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan and Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak are scheduled to visit India to officially establish cooperation in the areas of defense and trade late this month.

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Information and Source

Reporter : Nuppol Suvansombut Rewriter : Benjamin Rujopakarn National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

“Samsara : The Cycle of Life”

Indian Cultural Centre, Embassy of India in collaboration with Sejal Sood and YenakArt Villa organised “Samsara” – live performance and mixed media artworks by Sejal Sood. H. E Mr. Bhagwant Singh Bishnoi, ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Thailand inaugurated the exhibition and the performance.

Ms. Sejal Surendra Sood is a performance artist who uses her canvases to explore the meditative nature of dance and the very movement that underwrites it, breaking it into transformational and reflective experiences. Her exhibition was experiential and not just a static viewing of either the canvases or the dance. A spectacular performance appreciated by all the guests.

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Scholarships for Thai Students for Study in Hindi Courses at Central Institute of Hindi, Agra for the Academic Year 2016-17

Notice

Sub: Scholarships for Thai Students for Study in Hindi Courses at Central Institute of Hindi, Agra for the Academic Year 2016-17

The Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India has called for applications for various Hindi courses offered by the Central Institute of Hindi, Agra. The Institute will give scholarships to students from Thailand for study of Hindi language under the Government of India’s ‘Propagation of Hindi Abroad’ Scheme for the academic session 2016-17 commencing from 1st August 2016.

The application form and complete details of the scholarship programme may be obtained from Education Officer, Embassy of India, Tel.No. 0-2258-0300-5 ext. 6 or email: info.bangkok@mea.gov.in.

The completed application forms may be submitted at the Embassy of India, Bangkok along with photographs, medical certificate, academic achievement certificates, character certificate, Hindi Proficiency Certificate and recommendation letter from expert of Linguistics/Hindi or lecturer/professor of the university latest by 18th March 2016.

ประกาศ

เรื่อง ทุนการศึกษาสำหรับหลักสูตรภาษาฮินดีที่สถาบัน Central Institute of Hindi เมืองอัครา ประจำปีการศึกษา 2559-2560

กระทรวงพัฒนาทรัพยากรมนุษย์ รัฐบาลอินเดียให้ทุนการศึกษาสำหรับผู้ที่สนใจศึกษาในหลักสูตรภาษาฮินดีที่ สถาบัน Central Institute of Hindi เมืองอัครา ภายใต้โครงการ “Propagation of Hindi Abroad” ประจำปีการศึกษา 2559-2560 ซึ่งหลักสูตรการศึกษาจะเริ่มต้นตั้งแต่วันที่ 1 สิงหาคม 2559 เป็นต้นไป

ติดต่อขอรับใบสมัครและรายละเอียดเพิ่มเติมได้ที่ เจ้าหน้าที่ฝ่ายการศึกษา สถานเอกอัครราชทูตอินเดีย กรุงเทพฯ ที่หมายเลขโทรศัพท์ 02-2580300-5 ต่อ 6 หรือ อีเมล์ info.bangkok@mea.gov.in

ส่งใบสมัครพร้อมแนบหลักฐาน รูปถ่าย ใบรับรองแพทย์ ประกาศนียบัตรจบการศึกษา ประกาศนียบัตรความรู้ภาษาฮินดี ใบรับรองความประพฤติจากผู้เชี่ยวชาญ/อาจารย์ภาษาศาสตร์หรือภาษาฮินดี หรืออาจารย์ที่มหาวิทยาลัย ที่สถานทูตฯ อินเดีย ภายในวันที่ 18 มีนาคม 2559

 

Keynote Address by External Affairs Minister at the Ministerial Session of Delhi Dialogue VIII (February 18, 2016)

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H.E. Mr. Sofian Djalil, Minister for National Development Planning and Head of National Development Planning Agency of Indonesia,
H.E. U Tin Oo Lwin, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar,
H.E. Mr. Vikasakdi Futrakul, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand,
H.E. Mr. Le Hoai Trung, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam,
H.E. Mr. Somchith Inthamith, Vice Minister of Industry & Commerce of Lao PDR,
Dr. AKP Mochtan, Deputy Secretary General for Community & Corporate Affairs, ASEAN Secretariat,
H.E. Mr. Vikram Nair, Member of Parliament of Singapore and Chairman of the Singapore-India Parliamentary Friendship Group,
H.E. Kan Pharidh, Under-Secretary of State in the Foreign Ministry of Cambodia,
Heads of Delegations from Malaysia, Philippines and Brunei,
Mr. T.R. Zeliang, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Nagaland,
Mr. Lal Thanhawla, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Mizoram,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my immense pleasure to welcome you to the 8th edition of the Delhi Dialogue.

A year has passed since the last Delhi Dialogue in March 2015, at which I had the privilege of delivering keynote address. This last one year has witnessed several important developments in the ASEAN-India relationship. During this year, the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area was completed, coinciding with the creation of the ASEAN Community. I formally inaugurated our independent Mission to ASEAN during my visit to Jakarta in April 2015. An ambitious new ASEAN-India Plan of Action for the period 2016-2020 was adopted in August 2015. All these positive developments paved the way for an exceptionally productive ASEAN-India Summit in Kuala Lumpur in November 2015.

Simultaneously, in the last one year a lot has changed in the global environment. The most significant is the escalation of terrorism, extremism and sectarianism. The rise of ISIS in particular and the displacement of millions of people from their homes, has caused enormous tensions and threatens the social fabric of many countries. The slowdown of the global economy has created its own set of issues for all our economies and development agendas.

Held against this backdrop, Delhi Dialogue VIII provides policy makers, business leaders and academics from both India and ASEAN with a multi-dimensional platform to discuss, debate and arrive at recommendations on how best to deal with these challenges. It gives an opportunity to intensify and broaden our constructive engagement to mutual benefit.

Excellencies,

In the context of the rapidly changing international scenario, the theme of this edition of Delhi Dialogue, ‘ASEAN-India Relations: A New Paradigm’, is especially pertinent. This is also because India is looking to chart a more ambitious and aspirational trajectory for its engagement with ASEAN.

ASEAN’s achievements over the last five decades have been truly impressive, especially considering the diversity of challenges that it has been confronted with, both internally and externally. The centrality of ASEAN has become the fulcrum, around which the Asia-Pacific region has evolved and its importance has increased further in recent times. The establishment of the ASEAN Community last December is a commendable leap forward.

India, through its ‘Act East Policy,’ has been giving a renewed focus to its engagement with ASEAN and other friends in the East. It is not a coincidence that since Prime Minister Modi’s government came to power in May 2014; we have had visits by the President, Vice President and Prime Minister of India to 9 out of 10 ASEAN countries! Hon’ble President visited Vietnam; Hon’ble Vice President visited Cambodia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Thailand and Brunei; and Hon’ble Prime Minister visited Myanmar, Singapore and Malaysia. The Philippines, as the next Chair of ASEAN, will soon be on the list.

We are also looking forward to the year 2017, which will be a special year for ASEAN and the ASEAN-India partnership. As ASEAN celebrates its golden jubilee, India and ASEAN would also be commemorating the silver anniversary of their partnership.

Excellencies,

India and ASEAN are two bright spots of optimism amidst ongoing global economic uncertainties. The ASEAN Community has opened up a whole new world of opportunities for shared socio-economic growth. India would like to be part of this growth and in this sense, the development of an ASEAN-India Economic Community would be a logical evolution. We also encourage the ASEAN member states which are yet to ratify the ASEAN-India Agreements on Trade in Services and Investments to do so at the earliest. The ASEAN-India Trade Negotiating Committee has also been commissioned to undertake a review of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement. Together these will facilitate a qualitative shift in our trade and investment relationship.

A balanced and ambitious Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, which we hope will be concluded this year, will further boost our economic and commercial engagement with ASEAN and the wider Asia-Pacific. We hope that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and Trans-Pacific Partnership will not become competing regimes, but help in laying the foundation of an integrated economic community. I believe that yesterday’s discussion in the business session on the impact of RCEP and TPP on ASEAN-India offered some interesting insights.

I am also pleased to note that the Business session saw participation from Presidents of all three national business chambers of India and several regional chambers, alongside business leaders from ASEAN. The discussion on ways to create regional value chains and enhance cross-border trade was important as it holds the key to the future prosperity of our peoples.

Excellencies,

Peace and stability are essential pre-requisites for progress and development. In this context, we are all aware of the importance of ensuring maritime security, which has emerged as an important area of concern in recent times. The oceans and seas, including the South China Sea, are pathways to our prosperity and security. The security of sea routes in the Asia-Pacific is essential for India’s economy as a majority of our global trade flows across the straits of Malacca and beyond. Moreover, the development of a Blue Economy and optimum utilization of marine resources can only take place within the ambit of internationally recognized rules and norms.

The need for resolving disputes peacefully, without threat or actual use of force, cannot, therefore, be underestimated. In this regard I would also like to stress that we support the evolution of an inclusive, balanced, transparent and open regional architecture for security and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. We continue to deepen ASEAN-India consultations and cooperation through various ASEAN-led fora including the East Asia Summit, ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus, and Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum.

On the 10th anniversary of the East Asia Summit last November, we resolved to work closely with ASEAN member states to strengthen the EAS as the premier leaders-led forum for dialogue and cooperation on strategic, political and economic issues, with the aim of promoting peace, stability and economic prosperity in the region. We have also stepped up our consultations with ASEAN mechanisms dealing with countering terrorism, piracy, drug trafficking and other transnational crimes, including by involving law enforcement agencies. We look forward to tomorrow’s academic discussion on ‘ASEAN and the Security of the Asia Pacific.’ We also propose to host the first Government-to-Government ASEAN-India Cyber Dialogue in New Delhi in early 2016.

Excellencies,

Enhancing connectivity is a strategic priority for both India and ASEAN. It is also an enabler for economic growth and people-to-people exchanges. For India’s North Eastern region, it can be a game changer. India has been working with ASEAN to enhance physical connectivity via our North East as well as our eastern seaboard. A number of initiatives are underway for improving rail, road, water-ways and air connectivity within the region.

In the last one year, we have closely monitored the progress of our major connectivity projects – the Kaladan Multi Modal Transport project, India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway and Rih Tedim Project in Myanmar. I am happy to share that the original waterways component of the Kaladan project has achieved a physical progress of close to 90% and is scheduled to be completed in the next few months. The revised cost of the project was approved in October last year. The implementation of the road component and additional waterways items has been initiated. These are targeted to be completed by 2019.

As regards India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway the tendering process for award of work for construction of 69 bridges and approach roads has been initiated. The project approval for this component was obtained in December last year. The implementation will start soon with the Friendship Bridge connecting Moreh and Tamu on the India-Myanmar border. The process for Kalewa-Yargi road has also been speeded up.

The Rih-Tedim Road project will provide all weather connectivity between eastern Mizoram and western Myanmar. The alignment for the road has been finalized. A Detailed Project Report will be completed by the second half of this year, and actual implementation will start soon thereafter.

Besides these projects, at the 13th ASEAN India Summit in November 2015, Prime Minister Modi announced a Line of Credit of One billion dollars to promote projects that support physical and digital connectivity between India and ASEAN. We will look forward to receiving proposals from ASEAN member states for utilization of this Line of Credit.

We are also working for enhanced air connectivity for our North-East with our ASEAN friends. On the subject of connectivity, I also look forward to hearing the views of the Chief Ministers of our North Eastern states, who have so kindly graced today’s event with their presence. I am pleased to inform you that we will be inaugurating very soon an ASEAN Studies Centre at the North-Eastern Hill University in Shillong, following Prime Minister Modi’s announcement to this effect at the 13th ASEAN-India Summit. The Centre will include representatives from Universities in all North Eastern states and shall work to enhance mutual understanding and develop cross-border academic exchanges between India and ASEAN countries. We also look forward to the ASEAN-India Centre in New Delhi receiving ASEAN scholars and research fellows at an early date.

The deep and abiding socio-cultural links between India and ASEAN date back two millennia. It is important that as we further develop our political and economic relations we do not lose sight of our civilizational connect. With this objective, the first International Conference on ASEAN-India Cultural Links was organized in New Delhi in July 2015. The Conference deliberated on how to document our ancient and contemporary socio-cultural linkages, spanning our art and architecture, languages and religion, and mythology and folklore. I am happy that this Conference was not a one-off event and the 2nd ASEAN-India Cultural Relations Conference will be held in Jakarta in 2016.

We hope that such exchanges will engender research tie-up between our universities and think tanks to produce a credible repository of knowledge for the benefit of posterity. To further enhance understanding at the popular level, exchange programme of students, journalists, farmers, scholars, diplomats, parliamentarians and others are progressing apace. It was my pleasure to confer the ICCR Distinguished Alumni Award 2015 on Secretary General of ASEAN Mr. Le Luong Minh in December 2015.

I am also pleased to acknowledge the presence of 20 ASEAN journalists who are here today as part of the ASEAN-India Media Exchange Programme. The extension of the e-visa facility to all ASEAN countries will bring our peoples even closer. I also take this opportunity to invite ASEAN countries to be our partners and guests for the International Buddhist Conclave that we will be hosting later this year. We will be giving support to several leading Buddhist monks and scholars to visit India for this Conclave.

The Delhi Dialogue is a flourishing platform for exchange of ideas. This year’s session will see nearly 50 speakers from India and ASEAN come together. This bears testimony to our common will and shared efforts to engage ever more deeply on issues of common interest and concern and to contribute to the overall peace, progress and prosperity of our countries and peoples.

As we prepare to celebrate 25 years of ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations and 15 years of Summit level interaction in 2017, I would welcome ideas from all speakers on how we can commemorate these landmarks suitably. Let me end by thanking you all for joining us. I wish you a fruitful and productive dialogue.

Source: http://mea.gov.in/Speeches-Statements.htm?dtl%2F26367%2FKeynote_Address_by_External_Affairs_Minister_at_the_Ministerial_Session_of_Delhi_Dialogue_VIII_February_18_2016

PM discusses bilateral ties with Indian VP

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha welcomed the Vice President of India during his official visit to Thailand to promote bilateral ties.

Indian Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari arrived in Thailand with his wife, Salma Ansari, and Indian foreign officials. Both Gen Prayut and Mr. Ansari inspected a military formation at the Government House.

They were later scheduled to discuss the possibility of further cooperation in areas of tourism, trade, culture, academia, defense and security. Gen Prayut and his wife, Naraporn Chan-o-cha also hosted a dinner party for the Vice President and his delegation.

This marks first time in 50 years that Thailand has had a visit from an Indian vice president. Next year, the two nations will celebrate their 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

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Information and Source
Reporter : Nuppol Suvansombut Rewriter : Benjamin Rujopakarn National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

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