New Delhi: The commemorative summit marking 25 years of India’s ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is all set to begin with leaders of all 10 nations arriving in New Delhi.
The theme of the commemorative summit is “Shared Values, Common Destiny”—highlighting the commonalities between Asia’s third largest economy and the economically vibrant bloc that groups together Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is hosting all 10 ASEAN leaders for the commemorative summit on Thursday.
Heads of nine ASEAN countries will arrive on Wednesday, while Indonesia President Joko Widodo will land on Thursday.
The Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc has already arrived. He will be followed by Cambodia prime minister Hun Sen, Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte, Myanmar state counselor Aung Saan Suu Kyi, Singapore prime minister Lee Hsein Loong, Thailand prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Brunei sultan Hassan al Bolkiah, Malaysia prime minister Najib Razak and Laos prime minister Thongluin Sisolith.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold three bilateral meetings Wednesday: with his Vietnamese counterpart; with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte; and with state counselor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi at Hyderabad House.
On Thursday, Modi will host Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and Sultan of Brueni Hassanal Bolkiah.
Later, President Ram Nath Kovind will receive the leaders and their spouses at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, where the president will host a luncheon before they head for the retreat session themed on maritime cooperation and security in Modi’s presence.
This will be followed by a walk around the Mughal gardens at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and a group photo session of the leaders. At the plenary session of the summit hosted at Taj hotel in Chanakyapuri, every leader will deliver a speech.
The leaders will release commemorative stamps and attend a photo exhibition. The leaders will then attend a cultural show and the dinner hosted by Modi.
In the evening, Modi will have a bilateral meeting with President Joko Widodo. The leaders will attend the Republic Day parade on January 26 and Modi will have bilateral meetings with Prime Minister of Lao PDR. Thongloun Sisoulith and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak.
The celebrations began a year ago and in the past year, New Delhi has organized 36 events in India and ASEAN countries.
India’s relationship with ASEAN has emerged as a key cornerstone of its foreign policy. The relationship has evolved from the ‘Look East Policy’ enunciated in early 90s which led India to become a Sectoral Partner of ASEAN in 1992, a Dialogue Partner in 1996 and a Summit-level Partner in 2002. The up gradation of this partnership to Strategic Partnership during the celebration of 20th anniversary Commemorative Summit at New Delhi in 2012 was a natural corollary to the growth of India-ASEAN relationship during last two decades.
The India-ASEAN Strategic Partnership acquired a new momentum with the announcement of “Act-East Policy” in the 12th Summit in 2014. It conveyed a clear intent on the part of India to up-scaling its engagement with the ASEAN Member States.