Islamabad: The Prime Minister of Thailand, Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra, would be paying an official visit to Pakistan on the invitation of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif from today (Tuesday).
This would be the first visit of a Thai Prime Minister in more than a decade. Previously Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra, brother of Prime Minister Yingluck had visited Pakistan in July 2002. The Thai Prime Minister would be accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising Cabinet Ministers and senior officials and businessmen.
The visiting dignitary’s programme includes call on the President, official talks with the Prime Minister who will also host a banquet and signing of Agreement/MoUs. The accompanying business delegation of Prime Minister Yingluck will hold separate meetings with their counterparts and prospective business partners.
Relations between Pakistan and Thailand have consistently grown over the years, based on shared principles and mutual interests. Pakistan and Thailand enjoy strategic location in their respective regions which makes them centre of economic activity.
Pakistan’s ‘Vision East Asia’ policy and Thailand’s ‘Look West’ policy thus complement each other and provide mutually reinforcing framework to advance the shared vision. Both countries hold similar views on major regional and global issues and cooperate closely at regional and international forums.
Both Pakistan and Thailand are committed to build a strong economic partnership. The potential for bilateral trade to thrive and flourish is immense. Bilateral trade was close to USD 1 billion mark during 2012 with Pakistan’s exports of USD105 million and imports of USD878 million.
Major export items from Pakistan include yarn and fibers as well as fresh aquatic animals, frozen and chilled. The main imports from Thailand include motor cars, auto parts and accessories, chemical products and synthetic filaments.
Major Thai investment companies including Charoen Pokhpand (CP) Group of companies, Uretane Group, Siam Chemical Group etc are engaged in various investment projects in Pakistan.
Pakistan offers great investment opportunities in energy/power generation, infrastructure development, food, livestock and dairy production and telecom sector and cultural and educational as well as people-to-people exchanges. Cultural cooperation between Pakistan and Thailand have grown significantly in recent years.
The two countries are bound by the civilizational link of Gandhara, the Buddhist civilization that flourished in Taxila and adjoining areas. The two countries celebrated the 60th Anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2011-12 and also the 50th Anniversary of the state visits of Their Majesties the King and Queen of Thailand to Pakistan, which took place in 1962.
As part of these celebrations, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn visited Pakistan in March 2012.
Prime Minister Shinawatra’s visit would mark yet another important step forward in reinforcing the mutually beneficial relationship between the two important countries and open up new vistas for bilateral cooperation.