Bangkok: Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari arrived here on Wednesday on a three-day visit to Thailand in the second leg of his two-nation tour. Vice President Ansari, who was received at the airport by Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Juntong, will hold discussions with the Thai leadership on a range of issues to boost bilateral ties. This is the first visit by an Indian Vice President to Thailand after a gap of 50 years.
He will also have a one-to-one meeting with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who will host a banquet in his honour. Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted, “Eastern friendships flourish. After a successful visit to Brunei, VP Ansari arrives in Thailand to a 19 gun salute.”
The Vice President will also have an audience with Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and deliver a speech at the Chulalongkorn University here on ‘From Look East to Act East: India’s Partnership with Thailand and ASEAN’. He will also address the Indian community at a reception to be hosted by the Indian Ambassador to Thailand.
Addressing a press conference on board an Air India Special Aircraft to Brunei, Vice President Ansari had told reporters that a wide-ranging cooperation in counter-terrorism, defence and investment indicated the substantial nature of ties between India and Thailand.
He also noted the support that the Thai authorities had extended in repatriating wanted individuals to India. Responding to a question on defence cooperation, the Vice President said Thailand and India enjoyed a maritime boundary and added that the cooperation in this field was significant. He also expressed satisfaction at the continued engagement between both sides on the counter-terrorism front.
India and Thailand share a maritime boundary in the Andaman Sea. India’s ties with Thailand have now evolved into a comprehensive partnership with regular political exchanges, growing trade and investment. 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.