‘Only India can stand up to higher values’

ST Correspondent
Thursday, 9 August 2018

Chutintorn Gongsakdi highlights links between India and Thailand while in city to attend a food festival at the Hyatt

Pune: The Ambassador of Thailand to India, Chutintorn Gongsakdi said that in the times of international tensions, violence and migration, if any country can stand up to higher human values, it is India. He was interacting with the press at the ‘Aahan Thai’ food festival organised by Hyatt hotel at Kalyani Nagar recently.

The ambassador of Thailand to India spoke on the occasion to the media about the culture, beliefs and politics of his country. Thailand, along with India, Bangladesh and other south eastern countries, shares a long sea shore. Increasing global temperatures are increasing sea levels and are supposed to cause mass migrations from the coasts to the hinterlands.

When prompted about migrants like the Rohingyas, who have faced many human rights violations and mistreatment from Myanmar and became embroiled in controversy, the Ambassador said, “The Rohingyas are very distinctive in their appearance and culture, which is why it is very difficult for them to assimilate in the Thai culture. Plus their religion also separates them.” 

“Thailand does not take refugees since the Indo-China crisis and is not party to the refugee convention. Which is why, there needs to be larger understanding about migrants and migrations. A cooperative policy needs to be drafted. But there is also a need to solve the issue at the root in Myanmar and the Myanmar government needs to take cognisance of the issue,” Gongsakdi said.

The ambassador added further,  “In times of globalisation, there was hope that a global perspective would develop but borders are getting more tighter. In such times, if any country can stand for higher human values, it is India.”

The Thailand ambassador to India also highlighted India’s connection to Thailand. “Indians have a limited view of Thailand and so do the Thai people of India. But India and Thailand have a lot of similarities. The Thai language sounds similar to Chinese, but its words are borrowed from Indian languages. The Thai Calendar measures years in BE, that is Buddha Era, and it is 2561 BE in Thailand. The symbol of the Thai government is the Garuda and our airport is called Swarnabhumi airport. There are more than 4 lakh Indians settled in Thailand,” he said. 

Gongsakdi spoke about the tourism sector and Indian and Chinese tourists. “Indian tourists prefer Thailand as a tourist destination in large numbers. Indians prefer to visit amusement parks and like entertainment a lot when in Thailand. They also see Thailand as a marriage destination.” 

The ambassador further informed, “There was a problem earlier as Indians prefer vegetarian food and it was rare in Thailand. But as the numbers increased, vegetarian food too became commonly available. The Chinese prefer well planned and less expenditure tours and visit by millions.”

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