Commemorative Summit to focus on India-Asean shared values, common destiny (Curtain Raiser)

With "Shared Values, Common Destiny" as the theme, New Delhi will hold the Commemorative Summit to mark 25 years of the India-Asean Dialogue partnership here on Thursday at which the heads of state or government of all 10 southeast Asian nations will be in attendance.

The Summit will mark the conclusion of a series of events held over the last one year to mark the silver anniversary of the Dialogue Partnership.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

On Thursday, President Ram Nath Kovind will host a lunch at Rashtrapati Bhavan after which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a leaders' retreat in which the issue of maritime cooperation and security will figure.

Modi and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will deliver the opening remarks at the plenary session in the evening in which all the other leaders of the bloc will share the dais. Singapore assumed the Chair of Asean from this month.

Modi will also release a set of commemorative stamps in the presence of the leaders to mark the occasion.

An exhibition of 20 paintings of an Asean-India Artists Camp will be held at the venue of the plenary session.

Following this, Modi will host a gala dinner along with a cultural programme in honour of the visiting dignitaries.

On Friday, in what will be something unprecedented, the leaders of all 10 Asean nations will attend this year's Republic Day celebrations as guests of honour.

On the sidelines of the Summit, Modi is holding nine bilateral meetings - with Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Singapore Prime Minister Lee, Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah, Indonesia President Joko Widodo, Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak.

India's relationship with the Asean regional bloc has emerged as a cornerstone of New Delhi's foreign policy.

India's Act East Policy, which pushes for strengthening ties with the Asean member nations, emphasises on three Cs - connectivity, commerce and culture.

India is working on boosting connectivity with southeast Asia by land, air and sea and a trilateral highway connecting India, Myanmar and Thailand, work on which is in progress, is a key part of it.

India-Asean trade stands at over $70 billion and the two sides are also negotiating a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The RCEP is a proposed FTA between the 10 Asean member states and the six countries with which Asean has FTAs -- Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

In terms of culture, India and southeast Asia are bound by Buddhism and the Indian epic Ramayana. Most of the southeast Asian nations have their own version of the Ramayana.

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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