11 July 2024

Organised by the Embassy of India, in association with North Eastern states of India, the second Northeast India Festival aims to boost tourism in the region and showcase the cultural similarities between Thailand and India and the cultural diversities of India’s North Eastern states. 

The event is part of the commemoration of 75 years of diplomatic ties between India and Thailand.

Presiding over the launch of the festival, Thailand’s Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said that Northeast India was close to Thailand, both geographically and culturally. For example, the Sanken water festival celebrated in the state of Arunachal Pradesh and Bohag Bihu in Assam is similar to Thailand’s Songkran festival, which is Thailand’s traditional New Year.

He also mentioned that the Thailand-Myanmar-India highway project, which is being built under India’s Look East policy, will link Moreh in India with Mae Sot in Tak province of Thailand and will boost trade and investment between the two countries.

Suchitra Durai, Ambassador of India to Thailand, said that “It’s a matter of priority for us to promote the northeast part of India, especially because it is the gateway to South East Asia. So, we decided that we should do the first ever India festival, outside of India, in Bangkok, because Thailand is such an important hub. We have ancient cultural, religious and linguistic links with Thailand and the people of the northeast also have ethnic links with Thailand. So, we found that this is the best place to launch the festival.”

Northeast India comprises the 8 states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Sikkim, which is home to the Tai peoples, who share ethnic and linguistic roots with Thai people.

Suchitra Durai also said that “All the states have huge national resources and very good human resources and the culture there is very diverse and very rich. Handicrafts are superb. The textile is very beautiful, beautiful silk, beautiful cotton. They have one of the best music bands in the world. Also food of Northeast India, there might be some similarities with Thailand, but also a lot of distinction. The best tea in the world also grows in the northeast of India. It’s also famous for other agricultural products.”

Northeast India also offer wide variety of cuisines. Many dishes are probably easy to eat for South East Asians, with fresh ingredients like bamboo shoots, Bhut Jolokia and regional greens.