50 Years of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Thailand

Three Decades of Memories on the occasion of the 30th
anniversary of His Majesty the King visit to Bangladesh

Source: Matichon Daily Newspaper
Author Makawadee Sumitmor, Ambassador of Thailand to Dhaka
Published on January 17, 2022

Thirty years ago, when His Majesty the King was Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, he made an official visit to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. It was the first visit of the royal family to Bangladesh since His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great and Queen Sirikit, Her Majesty the Queen Mother visited Dhaka and Chittagong in 1962. At that time both cities were part of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan as East Pakistan. Decades later, the two visits in 1962 and 1992 were still important
events that laid the foundation for the expansion of relations between Thailand and Bangladesh until now.

After the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1972, the President of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh have visited Thailand as a royal guest in the years 1979 and 1988 while General Prem Tinsulanonda was the first Thai prime minister visited Bangladesh in 1983.

For His Majesty’s visit to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Bangladesh government originally offered advice the period to visit during October and December 1991 because the weather is good. However, both parties could not find the right time in that year. Therefore, the visit was postponed to the following year, during the period from 16-21 January 1992

The visiting places can be divided into two parts. The first part is the place that represents historical and multicultural of Bangladesh. The second part is the place about Bangladesh’s military affairs.

Due to most population of Thailand is Buddhist, Bangladesh government set a schedule for His Majesty the King to visit many Buddhist monuments such as Paharpur Buddhist Bihar as known as Somapura Mahavihara where is the largest Buddhist temple in Bangladesh. Before, this place was used from monks for studying Buddhist doctrine like Nalanda in the Republic of India. Now, it is UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Site.

Also, visiting the ancient site of Maha Sangkan and Dharmarajika Buddhist Monastery (Wat Dhammarachika) in Dhaka, where was the first Buddhist temple in the capital city of Bangladesh. In 2010, 18 years after the visiting of His Majesty the King to and Dharmarajika Buddhist Monastery (Wat Dhammarachika), he gave a 38-foot-tall Buddha statue in the posture of walking to the monastery with was supported from Wat Song Metta Wanaram in Chonburi. It is now enshrined on the side of the temple’s pond and has become the commonly known symbol of the monastery.

Therefore, Buddhism is one of cultural that helps to connect Bangladesh and Thailand closer. Bangladesh is one of the countries where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs send Royal Kathin Robes during the Kathina period after the end of Buddhist Lent with the Initiative of Mr. Surin Pitsuwan, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Secretary-General of ASEAN who is a Muslims and has vision and ready to drive Thai foreign affairs in all part to promote Thai cultural with Buddhist communities in different countries.

In addition to the important religious places His Majesty the King had visited places of historical significance and has beautiful natural resources. such as a National Martyrs’ Memorial in Savar on this occasion, His Majesty the King also planted the trees at the memorial site. His Majesty the King also had visited Sundarbans Forest Park which is the largest mangrove forest in the world. The schedule states that on January 19, 1992, His Majesty was seated on the Chandani Royal Barge to observe the mangrove forests and have lunch on the Royal Barge as well.

Another important place in the schedule is military place His Majesty the King is a pilot and graduated from The Royal Military College, Duntroon as well as being the first Crown Prince who study in the Military College.

During his visit to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, His Majesty the King bestowed to meet Commanders of the three-armed forces of Bangladesh. Also, visiting the various military units, for example, on January 19, 1992, he was gave a briefing on Air Force affairs at Matiur Rahman Air Base in Jessore and observed the pilot Training Centre. For Chittagong, a seaside port city in the Bay of Bengal, he went to the naval base and saw the BNS Ali Haider ship.

The exchange of visits between the two countries has helped to make relationship become closer and facilitated the development of mutual understanding between the two countries. It can lead to opportunities to enhance more diversified cooperation. The Visits of all levels are essential to the relationship between Thailand and Bangladesh. It helps to strengthen the dynamics and drive cooperation in various fields to make concrete progress.

Three decades after the visit of His Majesty the King to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, history clearly indicates the friendship that blossomed after and there is no better way to enjoy the success than building on respect goodwill and sincerity towards each other and remain stable friendship.