Ten heads of ASEAN nations to be chief guests at R-Day function


New Delhi, Dec 13: The coming 69th Republic Day of the country would be very special as for the first time 10 heads of ASEAN nations would be attending the event as chief guest.
“The presence of so many heads of states would be a tribute to the strategic partnership of India-ASEAN and to India’s Act East policy, ” sources said here on Wednesday.
The leaders would participate in the India-ASEAN Summit on January 25, which will be held to commemorate 25 years of India’s relations with this grouping.
The Republic Day parade would feature tabloids showcasing the cultural connect of India with these south-east Asian countries.
India considers ASEAN as central to its regional security architecture, and in that context connectivity to the countries of the region, which would boost trade, cultural exchanges and people to people contact, was also vital for it.
Besides, India had deep connect with the countries of the region through Buddhism. As many as 21 events relating to these aspects would be organized as part of the silver jubilee of India-ASEAN relations, including the Dharma Dhamma conference at Rajgir.
Since Ramayana was also a significant link between ASEAN-India and among ASEAN nations themselves, troupes performing episodes from the great epic would also be a major feature of the cultural events during the Summit.
Sources said the leaders, who had been invited by the Prime Minister during his recent visit to Manila for the 15th-ASEAN Summit, would arrive on January 24.
The same evening, they would be invited to a banquet at Rashtrapati Bhawan by President Ram Nath Kovind.