Sushma Swaraj on two-day Thailand visit


New Delhi: Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during a programme organised on the culmination of Indio-Nepal Car Rally at India Gate in New Delhi, on March 8, 2015. (Photo: Sunil Majumdar/IANS)

New Delhi/Bangkok: Taking forward India’s Act East policy, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is on a two-day visit to Thailand from Saturday during which she will attend the 16th World Sanskrit Conference and the India-Thailand Joint Commission meet.

Sushma Swaraj’s visit comes more than two months after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval visited Bangkok during which both sides agreed to boost cooperation in defence, strategic, maritime security and counter-terrorism efforts.

The minister, who addressed a gathering of the Indian community in Bangkok after her arrival, is expected to call on the Thai leadership and co-chair the 7th Joint Commission Meeting with Gen. Tanasak Patimapragorn, the deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Thailand, on June 29. The meeting will review the progress of the bilateral relationship in its totality.

On Sunday, Sushma Swaraj will attend the inaugural ceremony of the 16th World Sanskrit Conference as guest of honour.

She will address the over 600 Sanskrit scholars from around 60 countries.

The minister will also call on Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, who is the patron of the conference.

Sushma Swaraj’s visit comes as two Indian warships, the INS Satpura and INS Shakti, entered Sattahip in Thailand on a four-day visit earlier this week.

The visit by the warships is “aimed at strengthening bilateral ties and fostering inter-operability between navies of the two friendly nations”.

During their stay at the harbour, various activities are planned, including official calls, receptions on board, guided tours for Indian naval personnel, and professional interaction between personnel of both the navies.

India’s excellent relations with Thailand are an important and integral component of India’s strategic partnership with ASEAN.

India’s Act East policy is complemented by Thailand’s ‘Look West’ policy in bringing the two countries closer. Sustained high-level bilateral exchanges and regular meetings of bilateral institutional mechanisms have provided a major fillip to India-Thailand relations and achieved progress in key areas of cooperation such as security, defence, commerce, science and technology and education, said a statement from the external affairs ministry.

India and Thailand have strong economic synergies and the diversifying profile of growing bilateral trade and investment reflects the growth and maturity of the two economies.

Extensive people-to-people contacts are central to the India-Thailand relationship.

In 2014, around one million Indian tourists visited Thailand and over 100,000 Thai tourists visited India, said the statement.