External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday said that India's defence and security relationship with Thailand has grown after 2014. He noted that the Thailand government has also shown the same sentiment

While addressing the Indian diaspora in Thailand, Jaishankar noted that India had a look East policy while Thailand had a look-west policy. He highlighted the changes that took place in terms of India-Thailand ties after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.

While interacting with the Indian community, Jaishankar said, "We engage with the countries of the ASEAN. So, for us, this is not just a relationship. It is not even a relationship which began, as I said, in 1947, in the modern form. It is, of course, a relationship which goes back in history, but it is a relationship that is associated with reform and change in India. So, this period that we are talking about, especially the last 25 years, this is a time when this relationship has grown very much."

"At the same time, where Thailand is concerned, just like we had a look East policy, they had a look-west policy. And for us, it started in 92. For them, it started in 97. And in due course, when Modi became Prime Minister in India, he felt that nothing will happen through looking and they should do something. So, looking became active. And it wasn't only a terminology. You know, if you look after 2014, our connectivity has grown, our defence and security relationship has grown, our economic engagement has grown, our community has grown, and the same sentiment we have also seen from the Thai government," he added.

He said that the trade between India and Thailand is close to USD 18 billion annually and it was the highest in the last year. Jaishankar was addressing the Indian diaspora while his visit to Thailand.

"Today our trade is close to 18 billion dollars annually and last year it was the highest ever trade...I believe given the growth in India if you look at the major economies of the world today there are not major economies growing above 5 per cent...," Jaishankar said.

Speaking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision and leadership, Jaishankar said that it is an enormous fortune for the nation to have him as the Prime Minister at this time.

"I feel it's been an enormous good fortune of the country to have someday like him at this time. I am not saying this because he is the PM and I am a cabinet member...He is enormously visionary and grounded; honestly, such people come once in a lifetime," Jaishankar said.

Sharing details regarding his interaction with the Indian community on Twitter, Jaishankar wrote, "Arrived in Bangkok today evening. The first engagement was interaction with our community. Highlighted: It is a historical and cultural relationship of great significance. How developments in India are of great interest to the world. And shared with our community the transformation in India. That the Indian community is an important shareholder in relations. The community reflects the growth of the relations. India's Look East and Thailand’s Look West policy complement each other and PM Modi further strengthens it with the ’s Act East policy."

He further stated, "The BIMSTEC and MGC represent our continued efforts at deepening linkages. Increasing trade and economic connections. Review of the ASEAN-India FTA will further facilitate these exchanges. The increased exchanges in the field of security and defence. Connectivity can be a game changer, especially the road project through Myanmar. Partners in time of challenges- recalled the assistance provided by the Indian community during Covid and India providing vaccines to Thailand. Cultural connect and increased interest in learning Indian language and arts. Amrit Kaal and its significance for India and Indian community. India is moving fast and creating new physical and digital infrastructure to meet its needs. Our community is the face of India in Thailand."

Jaishankar is on a visit to Thailand to participate in the 12th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) Mechanism on July 16, 2023. MGC is one of the oldest mechanisms of the lower Mekong region and is guided by India’s Act East Policy.

​In Bangkok, EAM will also attend the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Foreign Ministers’ Retreat on July 17. BIMSTEC is an economic and technical initiative which brings together the countries of the Bay of Bengal for multifaceted cooperation. The retreat would discuss ways to further deepen the BIMSTEC agenda and strengthen the organisation.