India, Thailand agree to more cooperation on drugs, security

NEW DELHI: The prime ministers of India and Thailand agreed Friday to increase cooperation between their countries in tackling terrorism, threats to cybersecurity, narcotics, transnational economic offenses and human trafficking.

"We are both aware that the rapid spread of terrorism and radical ideology poses a common challenge to both our societies," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a joint news conference. "We also recognize that our close security partnership would help us to secure our peoples from these threats."

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha met with Modi in New Delhi on Friday and plans to visit the Buddhist pilgrimage center of Bodh Gaya on Saturday before returning home. Bodh Gaya is where Buddha is believed to have gained enlightenment.

Modi said information technology, pharmaceuticals, auto parts and machinery are some areas of promising economic collaboration between the two counties, whose trade in the last 15 years has grown eight times to about $7.9 billion.

A newly formed India-Thailand Business Forum held its first meeting Friday and issued recommendations for expanding business and investment opportunities between the two countries.

India welcomes Thai investments in the manufacturing sector and in infrastructure development, tourism and hospitality facilities, particularly at Buddhist-related sites, according to a joint statement issued at the end of talks between the two countries.

Some of Buddhism's holiest sites are in eastern India. Groups from a number of nations with large Buddhist populations including Thailand, Japan and Burma have set up monasteries and meditation centers in Bodh Gaya.