Bangkok: India and Thailand are all set to celebrate the 100th anniversary of relations between Surat in Gujarat and Surat Thani in southern Thailand, a unique historical connection between the two cities, which was forged in the early 20th century by a Thai King.
In 1915, Thailand's King Rama VI, during a visit to India's port city of Surat was reportedly so impressed with the vibrancy there that on his return he renamed Chaiya province in southern Thailand as Surat Thani or City of Good People and the Phum Duang river as Tapi river after Tapti river in Surat.
"The celebrations are an ideal manifestation of India's Project Mausam, reconnecting and re-establishing India and the Indian Ocean countries, taking the historical links and recreating it into a contemporary link," India's Ambassador to Thailand Harsh Vardhan Shringla told PTI.
He said the four-day celebrations which will start tomorrow at Surat Thani included the organising of the Southern International Trade Expo.
"A special stall is being set up at the expo to explain the economic initiatives and India's Make in India initiative" the envoy added.
Project 'Mausam' aims to re-connect and re-establish communications between countries of the Indian Ocean world, leading to an enhanced understanding of cultural values and concerns; and also understand national cultures in their regional maritime milieu.
The largest province of the South, Surat Thani was once a provincial capital of the 10th century Indonesian Srivijaya Empire.
Surat, an erstwhile port has a vibrant trade and cultural history. In early days, Surat was connected with 84 ports across the world and ships from these countries used to arrive in the?Tapi?River for trade and commerce.
Surat Thani, is an important commercial and shipping hub for rubber, marine products and coconut trading.
Historic ties between the Thai and Indian cities was revived after an MoU was inked between the Surat Thani Chamber of Commerce and the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry in February this year during the visit of the Ministers of Commerce and Tourism & Sports of Thailand to India.