02 November 2019
Bangkok: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday stressed on the centuries old close, historical and cultural links with Thailand and said that India's northeast is being developed into a corridor to connect seamlessly with Southeast Asia.
Addressing a packed diaspora event in the Thai capital, Modi said that Thailand and India have taken relations to a new height and that the ties were "from the heart and soul".
Referring to the Act East Policy of the government, Modi said that boosting India's relations with the 10-member ASEAN is a major part of its foreign policy.
"The northeast is being developed into a corridor for the ASEAN regions," he said at the 'Sawasdee PM Modi' community event.
Referring to the mega "Northeast India Festival" comprising trade, tourism, culture, academics and fashion that was held in February in Bangkok, he said it was part of the Act East Policy.
Modi said once the Trilateral Highway is launched, "then northeast India and Thailand will have seamless connectivity."
"It will boost trade, tourism and give a new energy to tradition," he said.
Referring to the Kartarpur Corridor that is set to be inaugurated on November 9, Modi urged "Sikh brothers" to come to India to use the corridor to visit the Kartarpur shrine in Pakistan.
To chants of "Jo Bole so Nihal" from the Sikh audience, Modi said: "I urge that most of you should come and visit Kartarpur."
Stressing that his government is developing places of Buddhist religious interest as part of the Buddha circuit, he urged the Indian diaspora to bring along their Thai friends and visit the places that Lord Buddha was connected with.
He said the Indian government has taken "special efforts to develop the Buddhist circuit and equip it with modern facilities."
Modi said that it is his first official visit to Thailand, and extended the greetings of the people of India to Thai king Maha Vajiralongkorn.
"The Royal family has great affection for India, which highlights the close ties," he said, and added that Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is a great Sanskrit scholar and has deep interest in culture.
"Her knowledge of India is great," he said, adding that she has been presented with the Padma Bhushan and Sanskrit Samman.
He praised the diaspora for their contribution to the countries of their residence.
He also spoke about his government's resolve to build homes for Indians across the country, bring potable water to every home and provide electricity, as part of the vision of a New India.