As the second edition of the Northeast India Festival takes place in Bangkok, Suchitra Durai, India’s Ambassador to Thailand spoke exclusively with Republic Television and underscored the importance of the 75th anniversary of Independence and Indo-Thai relations in order to boost tourism in the region and to showcase the cultural similarities between the two nations and the cultural diversities of the northeast. India.
“It is an honor and a privilege for us to celebrate two milestones at the same time. First, the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, through a series of commemorative events. , it also happens to be the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Thailand.The North East India festival is really special as it is a big celebration on a scale that has not been seen for some time. We are privileged as Bangkok was chosen as the venue for the first -ever Northeast Festival in 2019 and it was a huge success. So in order to maintain the momentum created by the first edition. We had all the preparation in place in 2020, but it was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
Durai further said, “The main key element of the festival is to promote the northeast region, as it is a gateway to Southeast Asia in terms of setting up. implementation of the Indian government’s Act East policy. It is a very important part of our India-Pacific policy as India and Thailand are part of it. So we are carrying out many initiatives under the QUAD partnership, the vaccine partnership – India donated 2,00,000 COVID-19 vaccines to Thailand in April.”
Suchitra Durai Highlights Achievement of Law East Policy Implementation
The Indian envoy also highlighted the achievements of the implementation of the East POlice Act. Here are the main highlights of his conversation with Republic.
- “India and Thailand are maritime neighbors and we have very strong defense and security cooperations. Trade and economic cooperation is the core of our relationship. Last year, we recorded bilateral trade of over $15 billion and that’s remarkable because it happened during the pandemic. Both countries have a lot of areas of interest between them.”
- “We are looking forward to getting a lot of investment from Thailand in India. In renewable energy, we had the biggest investment last year, which was over $500 million. We are very confident that the two countries can work together and have more grated cooperation in many areas.”
- “The connection between people is something again – 300 flights a week before COVID-19 and now we have over 200 flights resumed”
- “We are currently the largest foreign tourist group in Thailand. Before the pandemic, there were 1.9 million tourists from India to Thailand, and conversely we are trying to promote greater tourism from Thailand to India”.
- “At the end of August, India will initiate a big Buddhist tour conference to promote tourism from Thailand to India and also attract tourists from Southeast Asia and Thailand. Besides the famous Bodhgaya , Sarnath and Kushinagar, our aim is to promote tourism in various parts of India where there are Buddhist sites such as Madhya Pradesh, North East India, South India and the Maharashtra.
- “Educational Exchange – As part of India’s overall outreach program to all our ASEAN countries, 100 places for PhD scholarships in our prestigious IITs have been offered.”
- “In return, students coming from India study at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Thailand and other institutes related to hospitality industries because Thailand is very strong in tourism.”
India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway
Durai informed that India and Thailand have completed their portions of the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and New Delhi is working closely with the Myanmar government.
“India and Thailand have completed their sections, but some works are pending in Myanmar, but it is progressing smoothly. The Indian government is working closely with the Myanmar government to strengthen these sections as 69 bridges are to be constructed. Naturally we will have to wait and see how quickly it will be completed. I assure you that GoI is taking all measures to ensure that it is implemented at the earliest because it will be a game changer. We are also working on port connectivity at port between India and Thailand which will be very important for trade and commerce,” she added.
(Reported by Anirudha Bhakat and written by Astha Singh)