After historic visit to Brunei, VP Ansari reaches Thailand

Rajat Kain

Vice President of India Md. Hamid Ansari and Smt. Salma Ansari arriving in Bangkok, Thailand on a three-day visit, on February 03, 2016.

Vice President of India Md. Hamid Ansari and Smt. Salma Ansari arriving in Bangkok, Thailand on a three-day visit, on February 03, 2016.

Vice President Md. Hamid Ansari arrived in Thailand on Wednesday afternoon, beginning the second leg of his five-day tour to Brunei Darussalam and Thailand. He was accorded a state-level welcome of 19 gun salutes as he arrived at the Bangkok airport. Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong received VP Ansari at the airport.

Soon after arriving in Bangkok, the Vice President held meeting with Prime Minister of Thailand General Prayut Chan-o-Cha. The two sides laid emphasis on expanding the cooperation in the sphere of sectors like infrastructure and regional connectivity besides the areas like defense, security, health and trade.

“Our cooperation, both bilaterally and in the ASEAN rubric, encompasses diverse areas of mutual interest including Trade and Investment, Science and Technology, Education, and Cultural Exchanges…I am pleased that our two countries have taken important steps in the pursuit of closer cooperation, stronger connectivity and greater commerce,” the Vice President said at the banquet hosted by the Prime Minister of Thailand.

Both the nations already have a long-standing defense ties, with a special emphasis on anti-terror cooperation and military exercise. To pursue it further, Deputy PM of Thailand along with his Defense Minister will be visiting India later this year. The two will be holding a meeting with Union Defense Minister Manohar Parikkar.

In his meeting with Thai PM General Prayut Chan-o-Cha, VP Hamid Ansari also briefed him over the flagship initiatives like ‘Make in India’.

“The Vice President told that Indian companies can play a crucial role in the sectors like infrastructure and boosting trade,” Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs Anil Wadhva told the press at a media briefing held at Bangkok soon after the meeting between the two leaders.

The two leaders met at the capital city’s Government House where VP Ansari was received by the PM of Thailand post the guard of honour ceremony.

Vice President of India Md. Hamid Ansari delivering a special lecture at the University of Brunei Darussalam, in Brunei on February 03, 2016.

Vice President of India Md. Hamid Ansari delivering a special lecture at the University of Brunei Darussalam, in Brunei on February 03, 2016.

“We have reaffirmed our shared commitment to further strengthen and enhance the existing cooperation to be more comprehensive and closer in all elements. I strongly believe that the activities being organised during your stay, will have an active role in bringing about greater knowledge and better understanding of one another, and enhance the engagement among multiple sectors,” Thai PM General Prayut Chan-o-Cha said at the banquet.

Earlier in the day, the Vice President wrapped up his historic state-level visit to Brunei Darussalam, where the two sides inked crucial agreements in Defence, Health and Sports. VP Ansari addressed at the University of Brunei Darussalam before departing for Bangkok.

“The historical and cultural linkages between Brunei and India has made great roots dating back to the 3rd century. These have given us the confidence to forge a strong and abiding relationship in modern times,” he said addressing the large assembly of students and faculty at the varsity.

He was accompanied by the Minister of Education of Brunei Dato Haji Osman and the varsity Vice Chancellor Datin Hajah Anita Zahrina. Expressing gratitude to the varsity and affirming strong India-Brunei friendship, Vice President Hamid Ansari also spoke about the initiatives taken by the government of India with a special emphasis on increasing the regional cooperation between the two countries.

“Our new ‘Make in India’ initiative opens up a new vistas for investments from ASEAN into India. These include sectors such as smart cities, roads and highways, ports, railways, power and infrastructure,” the VP told the gathering.