I am proceeding today on a trip to the East, which will take me to our important friends and partners Japan and Thailand.
My visit to Japan is for the Annual Summit between our two countries, which got deferred last year due to impending general elections there. Japan is a key regional and global partner for India. There is a growing congruence in our interests and I see this relationship as an essential component of our vision for enduring stability and prosperity in Asia. In my Summit with the new government of Japan, led by my good friend Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, I will build on the momentum imparted by successive summits to the India-Japan Strategic and Global Partnership.
During this visit, I propose to invigorate our relations with Japan in the political, security and energy spheres. We will explore ways to harness the full potential of our Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Partnership by intensifying and balancing our two-way trade and investment linkages. The visit will also allow the two governments to take stock of the progress in flagship projects in our partnership, like the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor and the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, and to facilitate bilateral engagement for meaningful and mutually beneficial association.
I also hope to exchange views with Prime Minister Abe on important regional and global developments of shared interest.
As on every previous visit to Japan, I look forward to a gracious audience with Their Majesties the Emperor and the Empress of Japan. I will also have an opportunity to interact with leaders across the entire political spectrum in Japan, captains of Japanese business and industry and friends of India from all walks of life in Japan.
My other destination, Thailand, is an important bilateral partner as well as a regional leader situated at the heart of ASEAN. During my talks with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, I will carry forward the new dynamics in our relations since her milestone visit to India as the Chief Guest at our Republic Day in 2012.
Thailand and India share centuries-old people-to-people, cultural and spiritual ties. Being maritime neighbours, we also share common interests in maritime security. Our defence and security cooperation with Thailand is progressing well and it will be my effort to further enhance it during my visit. As one of our top trade and investment partners in ASEAN, Thailand is an essential part of India™s integration with the region.
Thailand™s importance to India is also underpinned by its potential as a hub of connectivity between India and Southeast Asia. The Trilateral Highway project will connect our Northeast with Thailand through Myanmar and create avenues for commercial and cultural interaction.
I intend to utilize this visit also to re-emphasize our commitment to building a stronger partnership with ASEAN. Thailand is also a key component of our sub-regional engagements in BIMSTEC and the Mekong Ganga Cooperation initiative.
My visits to Japan and Thailand will add depth and new meaning to our Look East policy and contribute to peace, prosperity and stability in the Asia-Pacific.