This month, Thailand and Pakistan commemorate the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations with commitments to further promoting ties across all dimensions.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai hailed the excellent bilateral ties between the two countries over the past seven decades and said Thailand looked forward to a more dynamic partnership in the years to come.
In a congratulatory message marking the occasion, Don said that the two sides have strengthened cooperation in all areas, including defense and security, trade and investment, and people-to-people and cultural exchanges.
In response, Shah Mahmoud Qureshi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, delivered Pakistan’s congratulations, expressed satisfaction at the close and cordial ties between the two countries, and reiterated his nation’s commitment to further strengthening ties in the years to come. Both countries are expected to conclude a free trade agreement soon. Bilateral trade in 2018 reached US$1.7 billion but has leveled off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Don reiterated that HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great visited Pakistani in 1962 and the current King Rama X also visited three times over a span of ten years during his younger days. The late monarch’s historic 12-day-long Pakistan-wide state visit was an important landmark in the history of Thailand-Pakistan relations.
In his remarks, Qureshi pointed out that both countries shared the objective of sustainable peace and development and are partners in multilateralism to promote regional and international cooperation. Pakistan has been a sectoral dialogue partner of ASEAN since 1993 and is a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum. Pakistan belonged to the early group of countries signing up to the 1976 Treaty of Amity and Cooperation.
One of the highlights of the commemoration will be an exhibition of Buddhist artifacts from the Gandhara period from Taxila at the National Museum. The Buddhist heritage between the two countries has been strengthened throughout the years with large numbers of Thai Buddhist visitors to the area in Takht-i-Bahi, Peshawar, Swat (Udayana) and elsewhere in Pakistan. In this connection, according to Don, the Thai government provided assistance for the restoration and maintenance of Gandhara Archaeological sites in Taxila and Swat.
Another significant development has been in the area of defense and strategic affairs. The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on defense in March that encompassed various aspects of cooperation. Both countries have high levels of interoperability and there is a close rapport among senior military officials. Pakistan has the technological know-how of the US-made weaponry system which could be of great assistance in upgrading and repairing the Thai arms stockpiles.
Thailand and Pakistan were members of the now-defunct Southeast Asia Treaty Organization during the Cold War. But their traditional friendship continues unabated. The military relations between the two armed forces remain strong until today.
Thailand is also home to 250,000 Thai-Pakistani descendants, known locally as Pathan. They excel in retail trade and real estate investment, among others. Both countries also have a strong connection in education. At the Asian Institute of Technology, Pakistani students rank the third-highest of all among the 1,607 students from 40 countries. Thousands of Pakistani students have graduated from this world-class technological institute. Likewise, thousands of Thai students are studying in Pakistan.” (NNT) Article by Kavi Chongkittavorn