May 30, 2013
Bangkok, Thailand

PM's speech at the banquet hosted by H.E. Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand

“I wish to thank the Prime Minister for her warm welcome and the gracious hospitality extended to me and my delegation in the Land of Smiles.

Excellency, we admire the way you have steered the industrious people of Thailand through the calamity of nature in 2011 and the turmoil of the global economic downturn. Thailand, by making giant strides towards development, has once again lived up to its ancient reputation as the Suvarnabhumi in our part of the world.

We also appreciate your deep personal commitment to the relations between our two countries and the momentum you have imparted to them with your characteristic drive and resolve. Your milestone State Visit to India as the Chief Guest for our Republic Day celebrations last year took our bilateral relations to a new level. It has been a privilege to work with you in the cause of our relationship and our region.

Madame Prime Minister, no visitor to this bustling city would miss the indelible imprint of our ancient links of civilization, culture and commerce. The timeless message of Lord Buddha and the shared lore of the Ramayana make us kindred in spirit. The sapling from the sacred Bodhi Tree, which was presented as a special gift from the people of India to His Majesty the King on the occasion of my visit, also represents an idea germinated in India but nurtured on this land. It shows the way ahead in our relations.

Today, we are two modern nations in transition seeking to transform the lives of our people. I am confident that our shared heritage, shared values and shared aspirations will lead us to seek an even stronger partnership of shared endeavours.

We are part of an Asia experiencing unprecedented change, confident about its future, but also concerned about the uncertainties and challenges that change inevitably brings. Asia has an ancient wisdom drawn from a civilizational heritage of peace, pluralism and co-existence. Asia also has the energy and excitement of youth to shape a future defined by cooperation, integration and shared prosperity. Speaking at the Dusit Palace in Bangkok in 1927, India’s Poet Laureate Rabindranath Tagore said that Asia was regaining its self-consciousness for the realization of its own self. It is a task that India and Thailand must rededicate themselves to in their own interest and for the good of our region.

I am pleased that today we have taken one more giant step in pursuit of closer cooperation, stronger connectivity and greater commerce. We have resolved to strengthen our bilateral engagement and advance maritime security in our region. We will harness the benefits of science and technology and we will nurture our relations through education, culture and tourism. Together, we will work to promote regional economic integration and connectivity, and the evolution of an open, balanced and rule-based regional architecture, anchored in ASEAN centrality. We will also strengthen the India-ASEAN partnership, BIMSTEC and Mekong-Ganga Cooperation.

In pursuing this relationship of extraordinary depth and richness, which serves our people and our region well, we are living the oft quoted message of Lord Buddha that noble friends and companions are the whole of the holy life.

So, in this historic Santi Maitri building, which celebrates peace and friendship, it gives me great pleasure to invite you to join me in raising a toast:

• to the good health and well-being of Thier Majesties the King and the Queen

• to the progress and prosperity of the friendly people of Thailand, and

• to the eternal bonds of friendship between India and Thailand.”