Ambassador Suchitra Durai’s remarks at the inauguration of ITCC Convention Hall and SME/Start-up Cell on 5 March 2019 Ambassador Suchitra Durai’s remarks at the inauguration of ITCC Convention Hall and SME/Start-up Cell on 5 March 2019

Ambassador Suchitra Durai’s remarks at the inauguration of ITCC Convention Hall and SME/Start-up Cell on 5 March 2019

Embassy of India



Inauguration of ITCC Convention Hall and SME/Start-up Cell

5th March, 2019

Remarks by Ambassador

H.E. Mr. Virasakdi Futrakul, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Thailand;

Mr. S. S. Phool, President, ITCC;

Mr. Aloke Lohia, Group CEO of the Indorama Ventures, Thailand

Distinguished guests;

Good Evening, Sawadee Ka,

I am delighted to join you on this happy occasion of the inauguration of India-Thailand Chamber of Commerce Convention hall and SME/Start-up cell. I congratulate and extend my warm felicitations to the President, Board Members and all stakeholders of ITCC.

2. India-Thailand Chamber of Commerce (ITCC) has a long history of promoting India-Thailand trade and investment relations and has played a pivotal role in further strengthening commercial relations between our two countries. I understand the Chamber has evolved over a period of time and took its current shape in 1974.

3. Embassy of India and ITCC have always worked in close association. In fact, when the Chancery was undergoing renovation, we even organised the flag hoisting events for our National Days at your premises. We regularly organize various trade promotion events here.

4. The recent initiatives of ITCC go beyond the bilateral trade promotion. ITCC reached out to Chambers of ASEAN and BRICS countries in Bangkok. A seminar on “India ASEAN: Trade Relations & Way to Enhance Cooperation” was organized in July 2018. The other such initiatives was organizing of ‘BRICS Panel Discussion & Networking Event’ in August 2018 in which Ambassadors from BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries also participated in panel discussion. These events were very much appreciated and well received by other Chambers.

5. I look forward to more such joint inititatives with the ITCC.

6. India and Thailand enjoy excellent relations. Indeed, while the foundation of our bilateral relations are our cultural and religious ties; in the contemporary era the focus is on economic and commercial relations. India and Thailand are maritime neigbours. You would no doubt be aware that the bilateral trade between India and Thailand is gaining momentum. Bilateral trade in 2018 amounting to around USD 12.5 billion, grew by about 20% over the previous year; in 2017 the rate of increase was 35%. This is indeed remarkable when you consider the overall global trade scenario which is currently uncertain. However, while growing at a healthy rate, India Thailand trade is far below its potential and we hope to work together with the ITCC to spur further growth.

7. We do have all the requisite instruments in place -- like Bilateral Investment Treaty/Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA), etc, to take trade & investment to a higher level. We are currently negotiating RCEP, which is proposed to be concluded in 2019, which would give further boost to our trade & economic relations with ASEAN countries.

8. Thailand is a valued partner. As many of your are aware, Thailand has assumed the Chair of ASEAN since 1 January 2019. Thailand is also the country coordinator for India-ASEAN Strategic partnership since August 2018 for three years. It would be our endeavour to further strengthen our relations with Thailand during this period in all areas of our bilateral cooperation.

9. Even as Thailand is preparing towards Industry 4.0, India is also in the process of economic transformation. In 2018, the India’s GDP grew by about 7 % making it the fastest growing large economies of the world. As you may be aware, India jumped 23 positions from 100 to 77 in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report amongst 190 countries. India has improved 53 positions in last two years and 65 positions in last 4 years.

10. We have excellent people-to-people contacts and air connectivity which complement our trade and investment relations. There are around 17 Indian cities directly connected to Bangkok and Phuket with around 340 flights per week. One can reach any city of India in 3-4 hours. Soon the city of Guwahati in North East India will have a direct connection to Bangkok. With greater port connectivity with India’s eastern sea board and the early launch of the Trilateral Highway between India, Myanmar and Thailand, economic integration between India and ASEAN will not be a far away dream any longer. This is what India’s Act East Policy launched by PM Modi in 2014 and Thailand’s Act West policy is all about.

11. Before I conclude, I would like to thank Deputy Foreign Minister Virasakdi Futrakul for his kind presence at this important event. This is indeed a true manifestation of India-Thailand friendship. I convey, once again, my felicitations to the President, the Board members and all stake holders on this happy occasion.

Thank you.

Khap Kun Kha