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Hamid Ansari on 5-day visit to Brunei, Thailand from tomorrow

Hamid Ansari on 5-day visit to Brunei, Thailand from tomorrow
Highlights

Vice President Hamid Ansari will leave on a five-day tour of Brunei and Thailand beginning tomorrow to carry forward India\'s bilateral engagements with the two South East Asian countries as part of its Act East policy.

Vice President Hamid Ansari will leave on a five-day tour of Brunei and Thailand beginning tomorrow to carry forward India's bilateral engagements with the two South East Asian countries as part of its Act East policy.

He will go to Brunei first, at the invitation of crown prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah. This will be the first high-level visit from India since the establishment of diplomatic relations with Brunei in May, 1984.

Brunei was on the itinerary of Ansari's two-nation trip in November, but he had to return home from Indonesia, which was hit by a volcano. He will be accompanied by Minister of State for Home Affairs Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary, four MPs and senior officials.

Ansari will hold talks with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Billah on issues of bilateral and multilateral significance, including civil aviation, space, trade and investment, hydrocarbons, information and communication. Cooperation in ASEAN and East Asia Summit and other multilateral fora will also be on the agenda and a couple of MoUs on health and defence cooperation will be signed.

Ansari will deliver an address at the University of Brunei Darussalam and address the Indian community at a reception.

Brunei is an important partner for India in ASEAN and besides contributing to energy security, hosts a 10,000-strong Indian community. From Brunei, Ansari will go to Thailand on February 3 at the invitation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, making it the first visit by an Indian Vice President after a gap of 50 years.

In Thailand, he will hold talks with Chan-o-cha and have an audience with Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. He will also deliver a speech at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok on 'From Look East to Act East: India's Partnership with Thailand and ASEAN' and address the Indian community at a reception to be hosted by the Indian Ambassador to Thailand.

India's relations with Thailand are an important and integral component of its strategic partnership with ASEAN. India's 'Act East' policy is complemented by Thailand's 'Look West' policy in bringing the two countries closer.

India and Brunei are linked by history, culture and traditions spanning a millennium. Exchange of regular visits have added to the momentum of the relations.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had visited Brunei in 2013 to participate in the 11th ASEAN India Summit and East Asia Summit.

The Sultan of Brunei paid a State visit to India in September 1992 and the Indian resident diplomatic mission was opened in Brunei in 1993. India is the third largest destination for Brunei's exports and the trade volume between the two countries is around USD one billion.

Sustained high-level bilateral exchanges and regular meetings of bilateral institutional mechanisms have provided a major fillip to India-Thailand relations and achieved progress in key areas of cooperation such as security, defence, commerce, science and technology and education.

In the past two decades, with regular political exchanges, growing trade and investment, India's ties with Thailand have evolved into a comprehensive partnership.

The India-ASEAN Agreement on Trade in Goods was implemented in January 2010 and the India-ASEAN FTA in Services and Investments was signed in September 2014 and came into force in July 2015.

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