India’s excellent relations with Thailand are an important and integral component of India’s strategic partnership with ASEAN. India’s ‘Act East’ policy is complemented by Thailand’s ‘Look West’ policy in bringing the two nations closer. Sustained high level bilateral exchanges and regular meetings of bilateral institutional mechanisms have provided a major fillip to India-Thailand relations and achieved progress in key areas of cooperation such as security, defence, commerce, science & technology and education.
India is considered as Thailand’s prominent trade partner in South Asia with 87.13 percent projected rise in bilateral trade from the current $8.55 billion in 2016-17 to $16 billion by 2021. Major Thai export products include Electronics, Machinery, and Optical lenses and major imported products include machinery chemicals, electronics, medical products and food products.
Bilateral Engineering Trade
Engineering items including machinery, vehicles, iron steel and electrical machinery comprise the top 10 tradable items between India and Thailand. Engineering exports alone amounting $970.86 million constitute 30.98 percent of total Indian exports to Thailand during 2016-17. India also exports Non Ferrous Metals like Tin and Products, Ship and Boats, Defence items, Railway locomotives, Nickel and products, Lead and products to Thailand while Thailand’s major engineering exports to India consists of Iron and Steel, Lead and products, Zinc and products, Nuclear Reactors, Boilers, etc.
In the ASEAN region, Thailand ranks as India’s 4th largest trading partner after Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. The growing ties between the two countries have come at a time when the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is expected to bring greater integration among member countries be it in the form of physical connectivity, economic links, cultural and educational ties.