Nepal and Thailand established diplomatic relations in 1959. The status of diplomatic representation was raised from Ministerial level to the Ambassadorial level in May 1969. Resident diplomatic missions at Charge d’Affaires level were opened in each other’s capitals in 1969, which were subsequently upgraded to Ambassadorial level in 1980.
Nepal and Thailand have been bound by commonality of culture and shared values. The bilateral relations are marked by strong friendship, goodwill and understanding between the two countries. Buddhism has remained one of the strongest links between the peoples of Nepal and Thailand. Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, is one of the most desired destinations in Nepal for Thai visitors. Thousands of Thai nationals visit Nepal, Lumbini in particular, every year. In recent year, a growing number of Thai nationals is found interested in trekking in Nepal. Similarly, thousands of Nepalese nationals visit Thailand. Nepalese nationals visit Thailand mainly for tourism, medical checkups and education. There are direct and regular flights between Kathmandu and Bangkok operated by both Nepalese and Thai airlines, which have greatly contributed to the promotion of trade and tourism between the two countries.
In order to promote relations and cooperation between the two countries, a Joint Working Group at the level of Foreign Secretaries was established for the first time in 1984. The first meeting of the Joint Working Group was held in Kathmandu in 1986. The Joint Working Group was upgraded to Joint Commission in 1990 at the Foreign Secretary’s level. The Joint Commission has been coordinating cooperative relations between the two countries. The first meeting of the Joint Commission took place in 1990 in Thailand and the Second one in Kathmandu in 1996. A meeting of the Joint Commission is to be held regularly, as scheduled by both countries. The Joint Commission focuses on exploring the possibilities of further expanding bilateral cooperation in the areas of trade, investment, Tourism, civil aviation, and culture.
Nepal and Thailand have been very cooperative and supportive to each other in regional and international forums. Both countries have been working together and exchanging cooperation under the BIMSTEC Forum. As one of the founding members of BIMSTEC, Thailand was very supportive of Nepal’s membership to the sub-regional organization. Nepal formally acceded to BIMSTEC during its sixth Ministerial meeting at Phuket in February 7-8, 2004.
Thai Cooperation in Lumbini:
The Thai people and Government have tremendous goodwill towards Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha. The Thai Government has built a Temple of Thai style in Lumbini. The Royal Thai Monastery is located in the vicinity of the birthplace of Lord Buddha at the Lumbini Sacred Garden. The construction has been funded by the Royal Thai Government and the devoted Thai Buddhist followers. The project was initiated to honour the celebrations commemorating the 50th Anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s accession to the Throne.
Bilateral cooperation on Trade, Tourism, Investment and Education:
There is warmth of feeling, and common desire, among the peoples of Nepal and Thailand to promote economic and commercial relations between the two countries. Bilateral trade is growing, but is heavily in favour of Thailand. Nepal mainly imports electrical goods, construction materials, and transport and telecommunication goods from Thailand. Nepalese exports to Thailand mainly consist of primary products, including handicrafts, woolen carpets and Nepalese paper products. The following table gives a glimpse of Nepal-Thailand trade over the last six years:
(Figures in million Nepalese Rupees)
|Year||Nepal’s Exports||Nepal’s Imports||Remarks|
Source: Trade and Export Promotion Centre, Nepal
Thailand’s experience, basically in the fields of agriculture, small and medium enterprises and Tourism, can be useful for Nepal. Learning from Thailand’s successful Sufficiency Economy Philosophy initiated by His late Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the One Tambon One Product (OTOP) programme in particular, Nepal has implemented one district one product project. Nepal Chambers of Commerce and Thai Chamber of Commerce signed a Memorandum of Understanding on May 20, 2004 in Bangkok for promoting bilateral trade and commerce. Thai businessmen have invested in Nepal in the areas of manufacturing, production of mineral water, hotel business, restaurants, etc.
Besides other cooperation between Nepal and Thailand, Thailand has been providing a number of short-term and long-term scholarships for Nepalese students in medicine, engineering, economics, communication, agriculture and other areas under the Technical Cooperation scheme among Developing Countries through Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA) and other schemes.
Exchange of Visits:
Exchange of visits at high level has played an important role in developing mutual understanding and cooperation between Nepal and Thailand. To give few examples, Their Majesties King Mahendra and Queen Ratna visited Thailand in 1970; Her Majesty Queen Aishwarya and HRH Crown Prince Dipendra visited Thailand in 1977; Prime Minister Mr. Kirtinidhi Bishta visited Thailand in 1978; Their Majesties King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya visited Thailand in 1980 and 1997, and paid a state visit in 1984; Prime Minister Mr. Girija Prasad Koirala visited Thailand in 1991 and 2006; Speaker Mr. Daman Nath Dhungana visited Thailand in 1992; HRH Crown Prince Dipendra paid an official visit to Thailand in 1994, and again visited Thailand on a study visit in 2003; Prime Minister Mr. Sher Bahadur Deuba visited Thailand in 1996 and 2002. Visits from Thailand include visits by HH Supreme Patriarch (Sangharaja) Somdet Phra Nayanasambhara in 1970, 1980, 1985, 1995, and 1999; HRH Senior Royal Prince Bhanu in February 1975 (representing HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej to the coronation of HM King Birendra); His Majesty King Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavrangkun, as HRH Crown Prince, in November 1979; Prime Minister Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda in August 1983; Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Thongyod in 1983; HRH Princess Chulaborn in 1987; HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn in October 1999, etc. There are many other visits from both sides at different levels.
Such visits have provided opportunity to exchange views on a range of issues of mutual interest, both bilateral and regional/international. Besides, they have enhanced the prospects for broader political and economic relations.
50 Years of Diplomatic Relations:
In 2009, Nepal and Thailand celebrated 50th anniversary of the establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the two countries with various programmes at government and non-government levels throughout the year.
His Excellency Dr. Khaga Nath Adhikari is currently the Ambassador of Nepal to the Kingdom of Thailand (since January 2015).
Similarly, His Excellency Mr. Bhakavat Tanskul is Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to Nepal.