Vice President Hamid Ansari arrived in Bangkok from Brunei for a three-day visit on Wednesday afternoon. This is the first visit by an Indian Vice President to Thailand after a gap of 50 years.
In the second leg of his two-nation tour, VP Ansari is expected to hold discussions on a range of issues with the country’s top leadership to boost bilateral ties.
The Vice President will have a one-to-one meeting with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who will also host a banquet in his honour. VP Ansari will also have an audience with Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and deliver a speech at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok on ‘From Look East to Act East: India’s Partnership with Thailand and ASEAN’.
An address to the Indian community in Bangkok is also scheduled at a reception hosted by the Indian Ambassador to Thailand.
Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Juntong was at the airport to welcome VP Ansari on Wednesday afternoon.
In Brunei, while delivering an address at the University of Brunei on the topic ‘India-Brunei: Partners in Peace and Prosperity’, VP Ansari underlined the “tremendous potential” between India and Brunei for collaboration in the hydrocarbons sector.
“The growing Indian economy also provides us with an opportunity to move beyond the typical energy seller-buyer relationship. There is tremendous potential to diversify and do value-addition in the hydrocarbon export chain,” the VP said.
In this context, he said India was “keen to work with Brunei in setting up a fertiliser plant that would make use of the hydrocarbon resources available here for producing fertilisers to meet agricultural requirement in India.”
This will generate additional revenue streams and create local employment, he added.
VP Ansari stressed on the importance of energy trade between the two countries as India imports crude oil worth USD 1 billion from Brunei.
Cultural ties between Brunei and India also found a mention in his speech.
The cultural linkages have “given us the confidence to forge a strong and abiding relationship in modern times,” the VP said.
He also thanked Brunei for its assistance for cooperating with India’s space programmes through the Telemetry Tracking and Telecommand Station of ISRO in Brunei.
“The station was a crucial component in India’s spectacular success in deploying the Mangalyaan in orbit around Mars,” he said.
Finally, VP Ansari also praised Modi government’s flagship programmes to woo investors from Brunei in infrastructure and manufacturing sectors.
“Our new ‘Make in India’ initiative opens up new vistas for investments from ASEAN into India. These include sectors such as smart cities, roads and highways, ports, railways, power and urban infrastructure. The India-ASEAN Agreements on Trade in Services and Investment will also unleash large potential for mutual investment,” VP Ansari said.
(With inputs from PTI)