It's official: 10 Asean heads of State/ Govt to participate in next year's Republic Day parade
New Delhi: For the first time ever, Heads of State of 10 Asean countries will be present at Rajpath to witness our country's 69th Republic day parade, Malaysia High Commissioner Dato Hidayet Abdul Hamid told a gathering at the Press Club of India (PCI). He was inaugurating a Malaysian cultural nite, which was being held at the Press Club of India for the first time.
The Heads of State of all Asean countries are coming to India to participate in a commemorative summit to mark the 25th anniversary of India's ties with the South East Asian bloc. This is a major diplomatic initiative by South Block when the threat of China is looming large at present.
Last November, in his address at the Asean-India Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he was looking forward to a befitting culmination of the commemorative year and "receiving you at the India-Asean Special Commemorative Summit on January 25 next year in New Delhi". Although all the leaders accepted Modi's invitation in principle, the official confirmation has now come from the Malaysian High Commissioner in New Delhi.
Confirming the participation of either all Heads of State or Heads of Government, Diplomatic sources said that it is not clear whether State Councillor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Ky would be attending the summit or not. The 10 member of the grouping of Asean countries are comprised of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The current chairmanship of Asean is with the the Philippines. On January 1, Singapore will take over as chairman of the grouping.
A number of events have been planned in the run-up to the commemorative summit, including an India-Asean connectivity summit this month and a business summit in January. Sources in the Ministry of External Affairs said that the sense in the Asean-India summit had huge potential for further expansion of cooperation between the two sides on a range of areas.
At the last summit at Manila, the Cambodian leadership suggested that Asean countries' troupes should be invited for their own rendition of the Ramayana at the Commemorative Summit, which had been acceptaed by India.