Sushma Swaraj meets her Thai counterpart, strengthens bilateral ties

RSTV Bureau

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met her Thai counterpart Don Pramudwinai in Bangkok on Thursday. The two leaders held extensive talks with the aim to expand bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

The talks focused on connectivity, security and cultural cooperation.

According to a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs, Swaraj will be in Thailand on January 4 and 5. The release said Swaraj was to discuss all aspects of bilateral relations with particular focus on political, defence and economic ties.

India also looks to enhance engagement with ASEAN countries as Thailand is likely to assume the role of a coordinator country for India-ASEAN relations in mid 2018.

Swaraj is on a three-nation tour of key Southeast Asian counties and Thailand is her first stop. She will then head to Indonesia and Singapore.

In Indonesia, Swaraj will co-chair the fifth meeting of India-Indonesia Joint Commission with her Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi, who will also host a banquet in her honour. The two ministers will also inaugurate the second meeting of ASEAN-India Network of Think Tanks.

Swaraj is also scheduled to call on the President of Indonesia, and have other official engagements, including an interaction with representatives of the Indian community, the MEA said.

She will also meet the new Secretary General of ASEAN Lim Jock Hoi.

As the biggest country in the ASEAN region with the largest economy, Indonesia is an important partner for India, including in trade and strategic matters.

“The Joint Commission meeting and other engagements of the external affairs minister will enable the two countries to chart out the course of partnership during the year 2018,” the MEA said.

Swaraj will be in Singapore from January 6, 8 where she will inaugurate the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) of ASEAN countries on January 7.

The theme of the event is “Ancient Route, New Journey: Diaspora in the Dynamic ASEAN-India Partnership”.