Bangkok | Vice President Hamid Ansari today called for strong cooperation among like-minded nations to tackle the growing menace of terrorism and underlined the tremendous potential for enhancing India-Thai defence ties. The spreading tide of extremism and terrorism is a threat we both face, Ansari told Thai academics, businessmen and students in his address at the prestigious Chulalongkorn University here.
Successfully dealing with such threats requires strong cooperation among like-minded partners. Thailand and India already have a robust cooperation in this area and I am glad that we have also taken steps to institutionalise such cooperation at the regional level, he said in his address on ‘India, Thailand and ASEAN: Contours of a rejuvenated relationship’. Ansari, who flew into this southeast Asian country on the first visit by an Indian Vice President in half a century, held talks with Thai premier Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday.
In his address, Ansari said his visit underscores the importance India attaches to Thailand as part of its increasing engagement with the region. He asserted that there is tremendous potential for enhancing bilateral defence ties. Thailand has played host to ships of the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard on several occasions in recent years. We hope to continue this cooperation through technical, human resource development, capacity building and contributing to the development of Thai capacities, both physical and human, he said.
However, Ansari noted that when it comes to economic cooperation, despite the large size and rapid growth of the two economies, the trade and investment between India and Thailand remains modest. The Vice President noted that non-traditional threats such as piracy, smuggling, transnational crimes and drug- trafficking were on the rise and posed a challenge, requiring strong and determined, coordinated action. He reiterated India’s stand that all trade routes and the sea lanes must be protected from traditional and non- traditional threats and all countries using these international waters must act with responsibility and restraint.
As the countries in the ASEAN region strive for greater economic integration, the safety of sea lanes critical for maritime trade and commerce, maritime security, and access to marine resources in accordance with accepted international norms, continues to assume greater significance, he told the packed auditorium at Chulalongkorn’s Music Hall. He said India supported the collective efforts by ASEAN member states and China to conclude the Code of Conduct to keep peace and stability in the region.