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ASEAN leaders are chief guests at India’s 69th Republic Day

The participation of the ASEAN leaders at the event comes amid China's growing efforts to expand its influence in the region.

By: PTI | New Delhi |
Updated: January 26, 2018 11:47:57 am
Flags of 10 ASEAN nations being carried on Rajpatgh during Republic Day parade. (Source: Twitter/AIR)

Signifying India’s fast-growing strategic ties with ASEAN, leaders of all the 10 countries of the powerful bloc today attended the Republic Day parade at the majestic Rajpath which showcased the country’s military might and cultural diversity.

The presence of the ASEAN leaders was unprecedented and reflective of India’s stature as a major power in the region, where China has been trying to expand its influence. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invited the ASEAN leaders for the India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit and to attend the Republic Day celebrations as chief guests.

The ASEAN leaders joined President Ram Nath Kovind and Modi at the Republic Day parade. Yesterday, the leaders attended the India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit, marking 25 years of partnership. Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, Singaporean Premier Lee Hsien Loong and Brunei’s Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah were among the ASEAN leaders who attended the event.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Prime Minister of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith and Cambodian Premier Hun Sen also watched the grand parade. Yesterday, one individual from each of the 10 ASEAN nations was named for the Padma award. The ties between India and ASEAN have been on an upswing.The ASEAN region along with India has a combined population of 1.85 billion people, which is one-fourth of the global population, and their combined GDP has been estimated at over USD 3.8 trillion.

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Investment from ASEAN to India has been over USD 70 billion in the last 17 years accounting for more than 17 per cent of India’s total FDI. India’s investment in ASEAN during the same period has been more than USD 40 billion.

The parade ceremony commenced at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate after prime minister Modi led the nation in paying homage to the martyrs by laying a wreath. An eternal flame burns at the Amar Jawan Jyoti to commemorate the indomitable courage of India’s armed forces personnel who have made the supreme sacrifice in the service of the nation. As per tradition, after unfurling the national flag, the parade began and the President took the salute of the marching contingents. The marching contingents included one carrying flags of the 10 ASEAN countries. The parade was commanded by Lt. General Asit Mistry, General Officer Commanding, Headquarters Delhi Area

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