June 17, 2016
- H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, accompanied by his spouse Associate Professor Naraporn Chan-o-cha paid a State Visit to the Republic of India from 16-18 June 2016 at the invitation of H.E. Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of the Republic of India. The Prime Minister of Thailand was accompanied by the Thai Deputy Prime Minister, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Agriculture and Cooperatives, Culture, Industry, Information & Communication Technology, Deputy Minister of Commerce, an official delegation and a business delegation.
- During the visit, the Prime Minister of Thailand called on H.E. Shri Hamid Ansari, Vice-President of India. He held talks with Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, who hosted a banquet in his honour. Smt Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister called on the Prime Minister of Thailand. The Prime Minister of Thailand also attended the Business meeting and delivered a keynote address. The first India-Thailand Business Forum came up with recommendations to expand and deepen business and investment opportunities between the two countries. The Prime Minister also visited Bodh Gaya.
- The delegation level talks between Thailand and India were held on 17 June 2016 in a warm, cordial and friendly atmosphere, reflecting their excellent bilateral relations and friendship. The ties between the two countries are intertwined and deep rooted in history, with interactions in multidimensional fronts, and extensive people-to-people contacts. In addition to the wide range of cooperation, Thailand and India have compatible strategies of Look West and Act East respectively, now evolved into a comprehensive partnership. The two Prime Ministers held wide-ranging discussions on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues, with a common goal to work closely towards the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations and beyond.
- Both countries recognized the importance of bilateral trade and noted that the bilateral economic relations are deep rooted in the existing framework including bilateral Free Trade Agreement, ASEAN India Trade in Goods Agreement and Early Harvest Scheme. Both countries agreed that the same may be enhanced further by striving to increase bilateral trade and engaging in bilateral and multilateral forums. Thailand took note of Indian initiative in further deepening bilateral economic ties towards comprehensive economic cooperation.
- The two leaders agreed to encourage more investments from both investors in India and Thailand. Both sides will also be renegotiating a new Bilateral Investment Treaty. The Prime Minister of India welcomed Thai investments in India in the potential areas under the ‘Make in India’ initiative, in the manufacturing sector as well as in infrastructure development, tourism and hospitality facilities, particularly the promotion of Buddhist circuit. Both leaders welcomed investments by Thai companies in infrastructure development to develop the Buddhist Circuit and to construct five high-end hotels.
- The Prime Minister of Thailand invited Indian investments to Thailand under the cluster development policy, which is a newly- initiated program aimed at enhancing investment in focused areas. The policy will help expand the investment network between the two countries in various mutually beneficial sectors, which the two sides agreed to explore opportunities for collaboration including -information technology, pharmaceutical, automotive parts, chemical products, machinery and parts, bio-technology, and R&D of both countries. The Food and Drug Administration of Thailand and the Central Drug Control Organizer of India agreed to cooperate in the area of pharmaceuticals. The Prime Minister of India welcomed the suggestion of the Prime Minister of Thailand to help train Thai youth in information technology in India.
- The two Prime Ministers appreciated the recommendations provided by the first meeting of the India-Thailand Joint Business Forum and urged the private sector of both countries to make the most of the prevailing favourable climate to expand bilateral trade and investment and strengthen business partnerships. They expressed the hope that the Thailand-India Business Forum will continue to facilitate the private sectors of the two countries.
- Both sides agreed to cooperate in the areas of mutual interest including Skill Development between India and Thailand with particular focus on imparting skills training for the people from North East India in Thailand.
- The two Prime Ministers were satisfied with the increase of tourist flows and the promotion of two-way tourism and people-to-people contacts. Thailand welcomes more Indian event tourism to Thailand. Thailand is also pleased to welcome the film and television production from India.
- Both sides welcomed the intention to forge Sister State/ City relations between Assam and Chiang Mai as well as Surat and Surat Thani
- Both leaders noted with satisfaction the progress in regional connectivity efforts such as the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway and agreed to expedite the completion of the project as well as to expedite negotiations on the India-Myanmar-Thailand Motor Vehicles Agreement. The two leaders also welcomed Thailand’s readiness to commence the negotiation with India on the Air Service Agreement. They agreed that the completion of the Highway and the Agreement will facilitate not only trade but also people-to-people linkages.
- Both Prime Ministers welcomed the proposed India – Myanmar – Thailand Friendship Car Rally which will be organized in November 2016. Thailand would extend assistance as seen appropriate to make it a success.
SECURITY AND DEFENCE
- The two Prime Ministers acknowledged the close interactions and increasing exchanges between the armed Forces of India and Thailand. Visits from India to Thailand included that of the Chief of Naval Staff in July 2015 and Chairman COSC and the Chief of Air Staff to Thailand in August 2015. The Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister of Thailand visited India in March 2016. The high- level defence dialogue was held in December 2015. There have been regular coordinated patrols (CORPAT) between the two Navies and annual exercises between the two armies and also the first ever table-top air exercise between the two air forces. India has been participating in multilateral Cobra Gold exercise held in Thailand as an ‘Observer Plus’ country.
- Both sides expressed a keen interest in enhancing cooperation in maritime domain including anti-piracy cooperation, security of sea lanes of communication including coast guard cooperation to maintain peace and ensure safety and security of navigation in the Indian Ocean.
- In this connection, both sides agreed to work towards the completion of the negotiation for the signing of the White Shipping Agreement between the two countries.
- Thailand expressed an interest in the Indian defence industry and its experience and expertise in the field of defence R&D and production. Both sides agreed to explore key areas of future engagement based on mutually identified areas of cooperation.
- The new security cooperation mechanism under the Joint Working Group on Security Cooperation held on 18 January 2016 in New Delhi as well as Joint Task Force on Maritime Security held on 25 – 26 October 2015 in New Delhi are also acknowledged for their positive contributions. Both sides agreed to take expeditious action on the recommendations of these mechanisms and to further strengthen their bilateral security cooperation.
- The two leaders unequivocally condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and agreed to work together in building a new global resolve and strategy for combating terrorism. Both sides acknowledged the increasing threat from nontraditional security arenas and agreed to enhance substantive cooperation for action in this regard. The 10th meeting of the Joint Working Group on Security Cooperation held in New Delhi on 18 January 2016 further strengthened cooperation between the two countries in the fields of counter terrorism, cyber security, trafficking in human and narcotics and in transnational economic offenses. The two countries pledge to cooperate in tackling terrorism.
- The two leaders welcomed the progress made in the agreements on Cooperation in controlling Narcotics, Drugs Psychotropic Substances, their precursors and Chemicals and Drug Abuse. Both sides agreed that close cooperation and more agreements between India and ASEAN and Mekong Sub-region are very significant for the fight against illicit drugs and precursor chemicals trafficking in this region. The Prime Ministers noted the ongoing negotiation of the MoU for cooperation between Thailand Computer Emergency Expert Team (Thai CERT) and Electronics Transaction Development Agency (ETDA) and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY) of India.
- Both sides welcomed the initiative for joint combined counter-terrorism exercise between the Counter Terrorist Operations Center (CTOC) and the National Securities Guard (NSG); and the training of Thai officers by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in cybercrime investigation and computer forensics.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
- In the field of science & technology, the leaders reaffirmed their continued interest in enhancing bilateral cooperation which will further bolster research, technology and innovation partnership between research institutions & universities of both countries. The science and technology cooperation should include start-up and innovation, software and information technology, biotechnology, life science, nuclear technology, and other mutual areas of interest. To this end, the leaders agreed to convene the next meeting of the Joint Committee on Cooperation in Science & Technology in 2016 in New Delhi with the objective of finalising and concluding the Programme of Cooperation (PoC) for the period of 3 years beginning in 2017.
- In space cooperation, the two Leaders appreciated the progress made with respect to cooperation in the field of mapping and geospatial technology applications after the signing of MoUs between Geo-Infomatics and Space Technology development Agency (GISTDA) and Survey of India (SOI) and the MoU between GISTDA and National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO) in May 2013. The India-ASEAN Archaeological Atlas from Satellite Data” Connectivity of Regional Culture: Finite Routes & Infinite Values” depicting the spread of Buddhism from ASEAN countries has been completed and will be ready for publication. They agreed that joint projects on space application under existing institutional arrangements and agreements may be further facilitated.
- India offered Thailand indigenously developed GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation or GAGAN services, which provides advanced navigation and location assistance and information facilities in the Aviation, Maritime and other domains. In this regard, India also expressed readiness to provide requisite technical expertise.
CULTURE, EDUCATION, AND PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE EXCHANGES
- Both sides noted that the visit will give a boost to the preparations for the 70th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations next year. The two Prime Ministers announced that the ‘Festival of India’ in Thailand and the “Festival of Thailand” in India, which are named “Sawasdee India Year” and “Namaste Thailand Year” respectively, will be held simultaneously in 2017 to commemorate this occasion, while several key events are to be held on 1 August to commemorate this auspicious occasion. Both sides also noted that ASEAN and India would also commemorate the 25th anniversary of their dialogue relations in 2017.
- The two Prime Ministers welcomed the setting up of a Chair in Ayurveda in Rangsit University as per the MoU signed between the Ministry of AYUSH and Rangsit University in June 2015.
- The two Leaders agreed to encourage closer people-to-people contact, through inter alia, promoting education, science and cultural cooperation as well as by promoting tourism.
- As a result of the Royal Visit to India of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn in 2014, both sides welcomed the signing of an MoU between Nagaland University of India and Chiang Mai University of Thailand to establish collaboration on various projects in the sciences as well as in culture and history.
- The two leaders agreed to deepen cultural and historical ties between the two countries by promoting diverse cultural exchanges between the peoples of the two countries and welcomed the signing of the Executive Programme of Cultural Exchange (Extension of CEP) for 2016-2019.
- In order to further promote and strengthen people-to-people contact, both sides reaffirmed their continued interest to facilitate the visit of pilgrims on the Buddhist circuit in India.
- Both sides expressed satisfaction at the greater flow of tourists and visitors between the two countries. To facilitate visits of Thai tourists to Buddhist sites in both India and Nepal, the Prime Minister of India announced that a Double Entry Visa facility would soon be put in place for tourists arriving in India with an e-Visa so that they can visit Buddhist sites in both countries.
- Recognizing that education is another important area of cooperation, the two leaders agreed to work together towards mutual recognition of degrees, research collaborations and training of teachers.
- The Prime Minister of India announced that to mark the 125th Birth Anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the architect of Constitution of India, Government of India will translate and publish the Constitution of India into Thai language during this year.
- The Prime Minister of Thailand stated that the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP) of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej can be applied to support the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As the current Chair of G77, Thailand is ready to share Thailand’s development experience under the guidance of the SEP to the developing countries. The Thai side will translate the concept of SEP into Hindi language.
- The two sides agreed to cooperate in the areas of archaeology, conservation and museums to revive and reconnect the civilizational and cultural connections between the two countries through cooperation between the governmental agencies of India, namely, Archaeological Survey of India, National Research Laboratory for Conservation of Cultural Property of India, National Museums of India, and the Fine Arts Department of Thailand.
- The two leaders expressed their desire to further enhance the ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership. Both Prime Ministers noted that the establishment of the ASEAN Community last year has been a historic event and hoped that it will be an important step towards greater integration and prosperity in all dimensions. With a view to underscore the significance of sub-regional frameworks, the Prime Ministers viewed that developing the Mekong-India Economic Corridor would complement ASEAN well.
- The two leaders reaffirmed the importance that both countries attached to the RCEP and BIMSTEC as links between South and South-East Asia. The two sides expressed hope to expedite the finalization of the RCEP negotiation by the end of 2016, while encouraging the convening of regular core meetings of BIMSTEC to maximize the utilization of the body.
- The two leaders reiterated their strong support for the ongoing reform of the United Nations and its principal organs with a view to making the United Nations more democratic, transparent and efficient so that it can deal more effectively with the myriad challenges of the contemporary world. They emphasized the importance of an early reform of the United Nations Security Council so that it reflects the contemporary realities and functions in a more accountable, representative and effective manner. The Thai side acknowledged India’s credentials for permanent membership of the UN Security Council. India also acknowledged Thailand’s long and good track record in international fora, particularly Thailand’s role in peacekeeping and security.
- Thailand welcomed the launch of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and both sides agreed to explore the possibility to cooperate in the area of solar energy.
- The following agreements were signed during the visit:
I. Executive Programme of Cultural Exchange (Extension of CEP) for 2016-2019.
II. Memorandum of Understanding between Nagaland University, India and Chiang Mai University, Thailand
- Both sides also agreed to pursue negotiations on the following MoUs/ Agreements.
I. Memorandum of Understanding to Prevent/ Counter Smuggling and Circulation of Fake Indian Currency Notes
II. Memorandum of Understanding on Combating Human Trafficking
III. Memorandum on Understanding between India and Thailand on Cooperation in the fields of Information and Communications Technology and Electronics
IV. Memorandum of Understanding on White Shipping Information
V. Memorandum of Understanding between Central Drug Standards Control Organization (CDSO) of India and Thai Food and Drug Administration
VI. Agreement between India and Thailand on Juridical and Judicial Cooperation in Civil and Commercial Matters for the Service of Summons, Judicial Documents, Commission, Execution of Judgments and Arbitral Awards (MLAT on Civil and Commercial Matters
VII. Revision of Air Services Agreement
VIII. Programme of Cooperation (PoC) on Science and Technology,
IX. India Thailand Free Trade Agreement
X. Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT)
XI. Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in Controlling Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances, their Precursors and Chemicals and Drugs Abuse
XII. MoU between Thailand’s Computer Emergency Response Team (Thai CERT), Electronics Transaction Development Agency (ETDA) and the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeiTY)
- The Prime Minister of Thailand expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and to the people of India for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to him and the members of his delegation during his State visit. He also congratulated Prime Minister Modi for the success of his initiatives and achievements during the past two years under his wise leadership. The Prime Minister of Thailand also extended an invitation to the Prime Minister of India to visit Thailand, which he gladly accepted.
17 June 2016