Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (L) speaks at a joint news conference with her Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at the Prime Minister's residence in Islamabad. — Photo by Reuters
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Thailand have agreed to enhance defence cooperation, a joint statement issued by the two countries at the end of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s visit to Islamabad said.
Prime Minister Shinawatra left Islamabad on Wednesday after a two-day visit in which much of the focus remained on deepening economic and trade relations.
The Thai premier was presented a replica of ‘Fasting Buddha’ and a commemorative postal stamp was also issued on the occasion of her visit.
Several steps the two governments agreed to undertake for enhancing defence cooperation included high-level exchanges between the three military services; cooperation in military training and exercises and academic linkages and collaboration in defence industry.
Coincidentally, prime ministers of both countries hold the defence ministry portfolio in their respective governments.
Pakistan had initially offered to train Thai military officers in its armed forces training institutes in 2010.
Moreover, the two countries agreed on the need for greater security cooperation. Areas identified for security cooperation included counter-terrorism, fight against transnational crimes and intelligence sharing. Modalities for collaboration would, however, be worked out later.
MULTILATERAL FORA: The two sides committed to support each other at regional and multilateral frameworks – Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), Asean Regional Forum (ARF), Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Thailand will, moreover, continue to support Pakistan’s candidature for full dialogue partnership with Asean, while Pakistan will back Thailand’s bid for a position in the OIC.
The two will also support each other’s candidatures in the UN Human Rights Council.
TRADE: The inaugural session of the Joint Trade Committee established through one of the MoUs signed during the visit was held on Wednesday. The JTC meeting followed an interaction of business delegations of both countries a day earlier.
The two countries are eyeing to double their bilateral trade to $2 billion over the next five years.
Mr Sharif and Ms Shinawatra also agreed on expediting the conclusion of a draft model agreement for investment promotion and protection.
Prime Minister Sharif has called on Thai investors to invest in Pakistan. Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand Group has already made investments in Pakistan.