PRIME Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha this morning (Jan. 24) came to the Government House but did not have an official schedule as he will be flying to India to attend the Asean-India Commemorative Summit this afternoon, INN News reported.
General Prayut came to work as usual but will be flying to India with his delegation at 2.50 pm from Don Mueang Royal Thai Air Force Base to New Delhi where this key summit marking 25th anniversary of Asean-Indian relations is taking place.
He will also be attending India’s 69th Republic Day celebrations on Jan. 26.
At 10 am this morning General Prawit Wongsuman, deputy prime minister and defense minister, was to preside over a meeting of the Executive Committee of National Sports Development Fund.
Deputy Prime Minister Wisanu Kruea-ngarm too was to preside over a meeting of the Committee on Integrated Development Policy this afternoon.
Meanwhile Ndtv.com reported this morning that it will be time for big ticket diplomacy as the heads of state of the 10 Asean nations start arriving in New Delhi today. Leaders from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei will be in India for the India-Asean Commemorative Summit that will be held on Thursday.
The event will mark 25 years of India’s ties with the Southeast Asian bloc. The Republic Day parade this year will also see the record setting presence of the 10 Asean leaders. This comes at a time India is keen on changing its ‘Look East’ policy to ‘Act East’ policy.
“The prime minister’s intention that the ‘Look East’ policy should now be the ‘Act East’ policy is really taking shape,” said Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. “And, by the very presence of 10 leaders from Asean during the Republic Day celebrations, India will definitely showcase its ‘Act East’ policy,” she said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold bilateral meetings with the visiting Asean leaders.
Trade will be a major focus area at the bilateral meetings and so will greater infrastructural connectivity, regional development in the northeastern states and regional security.
Despite having a free trade agreement in services and investments, India-Asean trade for the year 2016-17 was only $71 billion, in comparison to the $470 billion trade with China.
“In the year 2016, India exported textiles and apparel worth $1,203 million to Asean and imported textiles and apparel worth $546 million from Asean.
“With the ability to produce a diverse range of products, India has the potential to become the one-stop sourcing destination for brands and retailers of Asean nations,” said Indian Textiles Minister Smriti Irani.
Top: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at the Government House this morning. Photo: INN News
In-text: Indian women from BSF rehearse on motorcycles in New Delhi for the Republic Day Celebrations. Photo: Ndtv.com