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Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Prime Minister's Office
25-January-2012 20:21 IST
PM's statement to the media during the visit of Prime Minister of Thailand
Following is the text of the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh’s statement to the media during the visit of Prime Minister of Thailand:

“I am very happy to welcome Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to India. We are honoured that Prime Shinawatra accepted our invitation to be the Chief Guest at our Republic Day celebrations.

Prime Minster Shinawatra won a triumphant victory in the recent elections in Thailand and has given new hope for democracy in the region and beyond.

Thailand is a close friend and a valued regional partner for India. We share civilizational links with Thailand, and we are maritime neighbours. Developing close relations with Thailand is an important component of our ‘Look East’ Policy. Strong India-Thailand relations contribute to peace, prosperity and stability in the region.

The Prime Minister and I have had very cordial and purposeful discussions. We are both agreed that while we have made good all-round progress in many areas of our relations, we can and should do much more together. There is political will on both sides, there is cultural affinity and there is also immense goodwill at the people’s level.

We have agreed to expedite the conclusion of negotiations on a bilateral Free Trade Agreement that would include goods, services and investment. Today, we have signed the 2nd Protocol to amend the Framework Agreement for Establishing a Free Trade Area. We have also concluded a revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement. I conveyed to the Prime Minister that we welcome more Thai investment into India, especially in the manufacturing, infrastructure and services sectors.

We see Thailand as playing a positive role in our efforts to develop our Northeastern States and improve connectivity with the ASEAN region. We have agreed to intensify progress on connectivity projects such as the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway. We have specifically decided to set up a joint working group on infrastructure and connectivity. We have agreed to encourage our energy and infrastructure companies to work together including in third countries.

The Prime Minister and I have decided to step up bilateral cooperation and exchanges in the fields of defence, counter-terrorism and security. We have signed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation. I underlined to Prime Minister Shinawatra the need to put in place a bilateral legal framework to deal with non-state actors and subversive elements that pose a common threat to both our societies. In this context we have concluded an Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons.

People-to-people exchanges are the foundation of our relations. We have identified areas of cooperation in culture, science and technology, education, renewable energy, water resource management and consular matters to facilitate mutually beneficial interaction between the citizens of India and Thailand.

India and Thailand work together in a number of regional mechanisms such as the East Asia Summit, ASEAN, the ASEAN Regional Forum, BIMSTEC and the Mekong Ganga Cooperation initiative. We share similar views on building an open and inclusive architecture of regional cooperation in Asia which enhances trust and confidence.

I invited Prime Minister Shinawatra for the India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit that we will be hosting for the first time in December this year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of our Dialogue Partnership with the ASEAN.

I am confident that Prime Minister Shinawatra’s visit, which coincides with the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Thailand, will be a historic milestone in our relations.”

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SH/SKS