You Excellency Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a great pleasure to welcome you to India.
Your visit is a high point in our top-level political exchanges.
You come from a land that is very familiar to us.
From the Legend of Rama to the Wisdom of Buddha our ties are founded on a shared cultural heritage. Our historical people-to-people ties provide a strong basis to our partnership.
Thailand is a trusted and valued friend, and one of our closest partners in Southeast Asia.
Today, Prime Minister and I reviewed the full range of our bilateral engagement:
From culture to commerce;
From closer contacts between our peoples to deeper connectivity; and
From counter-terrorism to defence and security.
We are both aware that rapid spread of terrorism and radical ideology poses a common challenge to both our societies.
And, we also recognize that our close security partnership would help us to secure our peoples from these threats.
Beyond terrorism, we have agreed to further deepen our security engagement in the fields of cyber security, narcotics, transnational economic offenses and human trafficking.
The land frontiers of our two countries are not far apart.
And, we are also maritime neighbours.
So, Prime Minister and I have agreed to forge a closer partnership in the fields of defence and maritime cooperation.
A partnership to meet our bilateral interests ; and to respond to our shared regional goals.
And a partnership, which will be shaped by:
-Sharing of expertise and experiences;
-Greater staff exchanges and more exercises;
-Cooperation on counter-piracy on seas;
-Deeper engagement in naval patrolling; and
-Building linkages in the field of defence R&D and production.
Trade and commerce flows are an important lifeline of the interdependent world today.
Excellency and I agree that a more diversified commercial engagement between us would not only benefit both our economies. It would also enable greater regional economic prosperity.
In this context, we welcome the first meeting of the India-Thailand Joint Business Forum to be held later today. We encourage them, and the other business-sector stakeholders, to take lead in tapping the emerging business opportunities in both our countries.
Alongside trade, there are also ample avenues for greater manufacturing and investment linkages.
We see a particular synergy between Thai strengths in infrastructure, particularly tourism infrastructure, and India’s priorities in this field.
Information Technology, pharmaceuticals, auto-components, and machinery are some other areas of promising collaboration.
We also see early conclusion of a balanced Comprehensive Economic and Partnership Agreement as our shared priority.
Prime Minister and I are fully aware that smooth flow of goods, services, capital and human resources between our economies needs a strong network of air, land and sea links.
We have, therefore, prioritized completion of India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral highway; and early signing of the Motor Vehicles Agreement between our three countries.
Connectivity is also an area of priority for India’s development.
Improving access to Southeast Asia from our Northeastern States benefits both our peoples.
Stronger connectivity is essential not just for expanding bilateral trade ties. It also brings our people closer and facilitates enhanced science, education, culture and tourism cooperation.
Next year, to commemorate the seventy years of establishment of our diplomatic relations, we will celebrate Festival of India in Thailand, and Festival of Thailand in India.
This year, India is also celebrating one hundred and twenty-fifth birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the architect of Indian Constitution.
I am delighted that the Indian Constitution will soon be translated into Thai language.
I am also happy to announce that to welcome more tourists from Thailand to India, and to help them enjoy their visits to Buddhist sites in India, we will soon facilitate double entry e-tourist visas for citizens of Thailand.
India has always deeply appreciated the warmth and affection of the Royal Family of Thailand for India.
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has been a frequent and very welcome visitor to India.
We look forward to welcoming her in India again later this year.
We also look forward to the honour of receiving His Royal Highness Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn in India at his earliest convenience.
In conclusion, let me say that the convergence of Thailand’s ‘Look West’, and India’s ‘Act East’ policy lights the path to a bright future of our partnership.
Excellency, let me once again welcome you and your delegation to India.