Vice President Ansari arrives in Thailand

Bangkok, Feb 3 (IANS) Vice President Hamid Ansari arrived here on Wednesday on a three-day visit to Thailand on the second and last leg of his visit to southeast Asia.

“Eastern friendships flourish. After a successful visit to Brunei, VP Ansari arrives in Thailand to a 19-gun salute,” external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted along with pictures.

Ansari is visiting Thailand at the official invitation of Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and it is the first visit by an Indian vice president to this southeast Asian nation in 50 years.

Apart from holding a meeting with Prayut, Ansari will also have an audience with Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, who is a scholar in Sanskrit.

Ansari will deliver a speech on India’s Look East and Act East policy at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok and also address members of the Indian community.

India-Thailand trade now stands at around $8.66 billion.

Ansari will also briefly visit the city of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand.

“The relationship between India and Thailand has traditionally been very close,” Anil Wadhwa, secretary (east) in the external affairs ministry who is accompanying the vice president, told the media in New Delhi ahead of the visit.

He added that Thailand was an important partner in India’s strategic partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

The first leg of the visit took Ansari to Brunei where three bilateral agreements for cooperation in the sectors of health, defence and youth and sports affairs were signed.

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