Thailand, India agree to speed up FTA


BANGKOK, May 31 — Thailand and India have mutually agreed to speed up to talks to achieve the establishment of a Free Trade Area Agreement (FTA) between the two countries as soon as possible.

The FTA was part of the agenda raised during bilateral talks between Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who arrived in Bangkok on Thursday for a two-day official visit as guest of the Thai government.

The two leaders believed that when the FTA was concluded, it would lead to more and continued growth in trade and investment between the two nations.

During the meeting at the Government House  Ms Yingluck invited India to invest in the Thai-promoted Dawei deep-sea port and special economic zone in Myanmar to help link Laem Chabang in Chon Buri with the Indian Ocean and Dawei with the Pacific Ocean.

The bilateral meeting reflects the desire of the two sides to elevate Thai-Indian relations to a strategic partnership, as announced in January last year, based on shared values of democracy and respect for human rights and shared interests in promoting sustainable growth and development, according to an official statement on the Thai Foreign

Ministry’s website.

On the occasion, Thai and Indian prime ministers will witness a signing ceremony of seven agreements including an extradition treaty and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on exchanging information related to financial transactions in order to counter money laundering.

Mr Singh also presented a ‘Maha Bodhi’ Holy Bodhi tree sapling for His Majesty the King through the prime minister. The ‘Maha Bodhi’ tree is considered sacred by the Buddhists.

The visit has also emphasised closer relations between the Thailand and India as well as the “Look West” policy of Thailand and “Look East” policy” of India respectively.