India, Thailand review FTA talks, push trilateral highway

August 10th, 2012 - 6:40 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) India and Thailand Friday reviewed the progress in their negotiations for a free trade treaty and decided to step up work on landmark connectivity projects like a trilateral highway that will link the two counties through Myanmar.

The Indian side led by Sanjay Singh, secretary (east) in the external affairs ministry, held talks with the Thai delegation, led by Sihasak Phuangketkeow, permanent secretary, Thailand Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Bangkok.

The foreign office consultations took stock of ongoing measures to enhance connectivity and boost infrastructure, a key priority, through implementation of projects such as Thailand-Myanmar-India Trilateral Highway and Dawei, said the Indian embassy in Bangkok in a statement made available here.

“They also discussed the current status of negotiations on the comprehensive bilateral FTA, cooperation to enhance business ties, security issues, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges,” the Indian embassy said.

The talks reviewed a slew of initiatives sealed between the two sides during the landmark visit of Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to India earlier this year. Her visit had set the stage for forging a strategic partnership between the two countries.

The Indian side briefed Thai diplomats on New Delhi’s preparations for hosting a special India-ASEAN commemorative summit in December.

In a special gesture signalling an upward swing in New Delhi’s Look East policy, India had hosted Thailand’s first female and youngest prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra as the guest of honour at the Republic Day function in January this year.

This was the third consecutive year in which India had invited a leader from a Southeast Asian country as its chief guest at the Republic Day parade, a unique honour accorded to special friends of India with which New Delhi wishes to accelerate its diplomatic and economic ties.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak were respective chief guests at the 2011 and 2010 Republic Day parades.

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