Cultural and P2P Cooperation

Thailand and India have been historically and culturally linked centuries ago. People-to-people ties between Thailand and India have existed for several centuries. References are found in ancient Indian literature about Thailand as Suvanabhumi or the Golden land. In 329 BC, Emperor Ashoka sent Sona and Uttra to Suvanabhumi to spread the message of Buddhism. Hinduism has also influenced Thailand as reflected in architecture, arts, sculpture, dance, drama and literature. Ramakien, a Thai national epic is derived from Ramayana and has important influence on the Thai literature, art and drama. Several socio-cultural habits and festivals of the Thai and Indian people are similar. The influence of Pali and Sanskrit on the Thai language has been considerable and is particularly noticeable in the terminology connected with state-craft, science and technology. The shared link of Buddhism is reflected in the regular pilgrimages to places of Buddhist interest in India by Thais.

A Cultural Agreement between Thailand and India was signed in April 1977 to strengthen these age-old cultural ties. Later on, in 2007, the Executive Programme of Cultural Exchange between the two governments was signed during the official visit to India of Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont. Cultural exchanges, supported by Thai and Indian Governments, have been taking place over the years. During the official visit to Thailand of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee of India in 2003, the Prime Ministers of both sides agreed to set up Thai and Indian Cultural Centres in both countries. An Indian Studies Centre at Thammasat University and Sanskrit Centre at Silpakorn University were also established in 2003 to spread the knowledge about India to a wide scope of the Thai public.

The Royal Thai Embassy in New Delhi also plays its part in creating awareness of the close linkages in historical and cultural aspects existing between the two countries. Since 2005, the Embassy has organized a series of annual seminar on Indo-Thai Historical and Cultural linkages alternately in India and Thailand. On 9 September 2009, the Embassy in cooperation with the Government of Sikkim, organized an seminar on “Culture and Community Development” in Gangtok.