Joint Statement by Pakistan and Thailand issued at the conclusion of the visit of Prime Minister of Thailand
1. Her Excellency Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, paid an official visit to Pakistan from 20 to 21 August 2013 at the invitation of His Excellency Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. During her visit, she was accompanied by Ministers and senior officials of the Government of Thailand, as well as a group of leading Thai business delegates.
2. The official talks between the two Prime Ministers were held on 20 August in a cordial, friendly and warm atmosphere, reflecting excellent bilateral ties that exist between the two countries. The Prime Minister of Thailand also called on His Excellency Mr. Asif Ali Zardari, President of Pakistan. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif hosted a banquet in honour of Prime Minister Yingluck and her party.
3. The Prime Minister of Pakistan underscored the significance of smooth democratic transition in Pakistan as a landmark development that would lead to economic stability, political coherence and social transformation.
4. The two Prime Ministers discussed a vast array of issues of mutual interest at the bilateral, regional and international level. They noted with satisfaction the significant progress made in recent years in expansion of bilateral political, trade, economic, investment, security, defence, education, cultural and consular relations. They agreed that while substantial progress has been made, there existed a huge potential for further enhancement of mutually beneficial cooperation in diverse fields. They also noted that Pakistan’s “Vision East Asia” and Thailand’s “Look West” policies complement each other well.
5. The two Prime Ministers highlighted that Pakistan and Thailand were connected by a common cultural linkage through Gandhara civilisation that flourished in the city of Taxila in Pakistan. They noted with satisfaction that last year both countries celebrated the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations in a befitting manner. In this context, the issuance of joint commemorative postal stamp and the replica of ‘Fasting Buddha’ presented by the Government of Pakistan as a gift to the Government of Thailand were deeply appreciated. They also agreed to deepen political engagement through regular exchanges at the leadership level with a view to fostering continued development of a multifaceted relationship.
6. The two Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction with high level exchanges between the two countries in recent years. In 2012, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn paid an official visit to Pakistan in connection with celebration for the 60th anniversary of Diplomatic Relations. The Royal visit also coincided with the 50th anniversary of the state visit of Their Majesties King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit in March 1962. The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Thailand as well as the President of the Thai Senate visited Pakistan in January and April, 2013, respectively. Meanwhile, the Chief of Air Staff of Pakistan and the Minister for Planning and Development of Pakistan visited Thailand in June 2013. These visits contributed to deeper collaboration in political, parliamentary and defence fields.
Economic, Trade and Investment Cooperation
7. The two Prime Ministers underlined that expansion of bilateral trade and economic relations remained a high priority. They took note of the fact that bilateral trade had grown and crossed the USD 1 billion mark in 2011. They expressed their resolve to maintain and further enhance this increase. The two leaders agreed to double the volume of bilateral trade within five years and stressed the need to make it more balanced through appropriate measures to encourage more exports from Pakistan to Thailand. This may include diversification of trade between the two countries to include trade of other products and services such as processed food and food products, especially Halal products.
8. Both leaders welcomed the signing of the Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on the establishment of the Joint Trade Committee (JTC) and the Joint Business Council (JBC). The instruments are aimed at strengthening and expanding trade, commercial and investment ties, contributing to a strong economic partnership that both countries wish to build.
9. The two Prime Ministers reiterated that aPakistan-Thailand Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would form the centre-piece of economic partnership between the two countries. In this context, they agreed to discuss on the possibility of bilateral FTA under the Joint Trade Committee.
10. The two leaders welcomed the initiation of the investment project in Pakistan by Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group and were of the view that such ventures would help promote mutual investments. They also agreed to expedite the consideration and conclusion of a draft model agreement for investment promotion and protection.
11. Both Prime Ministers also agreed to enhance connectivity by land, sea and air in order to facilitate trade, investment and people-to-people contacts. They agreed connectivity would be beneficial to both countries as Thailand can be a gateway for Pakistan to South East Asia, while Pakistan can be a gateway for Thailand to Central Asia, and the Middle East and the western region of China.
Cooperation in Science and Technology
12. The two Prime Ministers recognized the importance of cooperation in Science and Technology and agreed to hold the 2nd Meeting of the Joint Committee established under the MoU for Scientific and Technological Cooperation, in Islamabad before the end of this year.
13. Both leaders value the importance of technical cooperation as a mechanism to strengthen bilateral relations. Thailand agreed to share its experiences with Pakistan by exchanging experts and offering training in sectors of mutual interests such as; gem stones cutting, tourism, and agriculture under the Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (TCDC) framework.
Cultural and People-to-People contacts
14. Both Prime Ministers agreed to deepen their historical and cultural ties that go back more than two thousand years when the Buddhist civilisation in South Asia reached its pinnacle in the Gandhara period with Taxila as its centre. They agreed to continue cultural cooperation under the Cultural Exchange Programme signed in 2005. Pakistan will work with Thailand in planning a possible Gandhara Exhibition in Bangkok. Thailand will encourage tourism to Taxila and other Buddhist sites in Pakistan.
15. The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed that people-to-people contacts were one of the most important aspects of their relations. As Thailand is the medical hub in the region, the Thai Prime Minister encouraged Pakistanis to receive medical services in Thai private hospitals. They also expressed satisfaction with the growing number of Pakistani tourists travelling to Thailand in recent years, with a 28 percent increase in 2013. They noted that increasing number of flight frequency between the two countries would further enhance tourism and people-to-people contacts in the future.
16. Both leaders recognised that mutual exchange of visits between parliamentarians, academicians, intellectuals, artists, media persons, researchers and scientists would yield notable results in upgrading people-to-people contacts.
17. The two leaders expressed satisfaction with the increasing numbers of Thai students studying in Pakistan and Pakistani students studying at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) and other institutions of higher learning in Thailand. They welcomed the opening of the “Pakistan Corner” at Thammasat University in Bangkok in June 2013.
Consular and Visa Matters
18. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of the Agreement on Mutual Exemption of Visa Requirements for Diplomatic Passports and agreed to discuss the scope of expansion by including official passport holders as well as taking further steps towards visa facilitation for businessmen and tourists.
Mutual support during natural disasters
19. The two leaders noted that both nations stood by each other in the wake of natural disasters and extended support and solidarity when massive floods hit Pakistan and Thailand in 2010 and 2011, respectively. They agreed to learn from each other on disaster preparedness and management and to make this a regular part of the bilateral interaction. They also encouraged both countries to support and utilise the existing regional frameworks and institutions in the areas of disaster risk reduction such as ESCAP Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Tsunami, Disaster and Climate Preparedness in the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asian Countries and Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC). The Thai side will host the 6th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in June 2014 and invited Pakistan side to attend the Conference.
Security and Defence
20. Both leaders acknowledged the need to enhance security collaboration by encouraging more cooperation on combating terrorism, transnational crimes including drug trafficking and human smuggling through exchange of information and intelligence. They agreed to hold the next meeting under the MoU on Combating Terrorism and Certain Other Crimes in Bangkok at both sides’ earliest convenience.
21. The two leaders noted the increased interaction at the leadership level between the armed forces as part of expanding bilateral defence cooperation. They agreed to give full boost through; promotion of high level exchanges between the three services; cooperation in military training and exercises and academic linkages and collaboration in defence industry.
Cooperation at the Regional / Multilateral fora
22. The two sides noted that Pakistan and Thailand had convergent views on vast range of regional and international issues of common interest and had collaborated closely in relevant fora. They affirmed their commitment to enhance and deepen cooperation at the regional and multilateral frameworks such as Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
23. The Prime Minister of Pakistan thanked the Prime Minister of Thailand for Thailand’s consistent support for Pakistan’s enhanced partnership with ASEAN. It was underscored by the Pakistan side that the full dialogue partnership would be of mutual benefit and also promote Pakistan-ASEAN ties in all areas of cooperation.
24. The Thai Prime Minister expressed satisfaction for Pakistan’s understanding and support for Thailand’s position in the OIC. The Pakistan Prime Minister welcomed positive developments in the Southern Border Provinces of Thailand and expressed full support to the Government of Thailand in its endeavors to peacefully resolve the situation there.
25. The two leaders reaffirmed their mutual support for each other’s candidatures in the UN Human Rights Council.
26. The following agreements were signed during the visit:
(i) Agreement on Mutual Exemption of Visa Requirements for Holders of Diplomatic Passports;
(ii) MoU on the Establishment of Joint Trade Committee;
(iii) MoU on the Establishment of Joint Business Council.
27. The Prime Minister of Thailand extended an invitation to the Prime Minister of Pakistan to visit Thailand at a mutually convenient time.
28. The Prime Minister of Thailand expressed her gratitude to Prime Minister, the government and the people of Pakistan for the warm and gracious hospitality extended during the visit.
21 August 2013