New Delhi: Increasing defence co-operation and improving connectivity and economic links were the main themes on the agenda during two separate bilateral meetings that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had with his Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-o-cha and the President of Indonesia Joko Widodo on Sunday.
The talks took place on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Thailand. Modi arrived in Bangkok on Saturday for the ASEAN-India Summit, the East Asia Summit and the meeting of heads of state and government of countries in talks to conclude the ambitious mega trade deal, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
“Noting the enhanced engagement in defence and security fields, both sides agreed to explore opportunities for cooperation in defence industries sector," the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement on talks between the Indian and Thai prime ministers. “Welcoming 20% growth in bilateral trade last year, leaders decided to task the trade officials to discuss ways and means to enhance trade and investment," the foreign ministry statement said,
The two leaders welcomed growing air connectivity between the two countries with the start of a direct flight between Bangkok and Guwahati. They also applauded the finalization of agreements for cooperation between Ranong Port in Thailand and Indian ports in Kolkata, Chennai and Vishakapatnam, the statement said.
“India and Thailand are close maritime neighbours having historical and cultural linkages. In the contemporary context, India’s ‘Act East’ policy is complimented by Thailand’s ‘Look West’ policy which has made the relationship deep, robust and multifaceted," the statement said.
In his meeting with President Jokowi, Modi said that India was committed to work with Indonesia to strengthen ties in the areas of defence, security, connectivity, trade and investment and people-to-people exchanges.
Noting that India and Indonesia were close maritime neighbours, both leaders reiterated their commitment to work together for peace, security and prosperity to achieve their shared maritime cooperation goals in the Indo-Pacific region, a separate Indian foreign ministry statement said.
“The two leaders discussed the threat of extremism and terrorism and agreed to work closely bilaterally and globally to tackle this menace," it said.
“Prime Minister Modi had a forward looking discussion on enhancing bilateral trade and highlighted the need for greater market access for Indian commodities including, pharmaceutical, automotive and agricultural products. While noting that Indian companies have made substantial investment in Indonesia, Prime Minister Modi invited Indonesian companies to use the opportunities presented in India for investment," it added.