A musical performance based on the epic Ramayana on Monday drew loud applause from several world leaders and delegates at a grand opening ceremony of the two-day ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit summit. The play reflected India’s cultural linkages with the Philippines and several member countries of the 10-member powerful bloc.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Donald Trump, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and several other leaders from ASEAN’s partner countries attended the glitzy opening ceremony at the highly fortified Cultural Centre in this bustling metropolis. The Ramayana in the Philippines is called ‘Maharadia Lawana’ which means king Ravana. The Philippines’ famous dance is called ‘Singkil’ which is based on the Ramayana.
“You would be happy to know that the @ASEAN opening ceremony included excerpts from the musical Rama Hari, based on the Ramayana. Various parts of the Ramayana were beautifully highlighted in the Rama Hari. This shows our deep historical bonds and shared heritage,” Modi tweeted. The musical performance was choreographed by Alice Reyes of Ballet Philippines, a leading ballet company in the country founded in 1969.
The prime minister said the Ramayana is widely popular among ASEAN nations and he complimented the cast and crew of the play for their “stupendous performance”. “ASEAN celebrates 50 years of robust cooperation and working towards a better tomorrow. India cherishes the strong ties with the @ASEAN family,” Modi said.
The ASEAN leaders later began deliberations at the summit which is taking place under the shadow of China’s growing military build-up in the resource-rich South China Sea. China claims sovereignty over all of the South China Sea, a huge source of hydrocarbons. However, several ASEAN member countries including Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei have counter claims.
India has been supporting freedom of navigation and access to resources in the South China Sea in accordance with principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The ASEAN have been pushing for a legally binding code of conduct for all stakeholders in the South China sea but Beijing has been opposing such a framework asserting that it will resolve the dispute with respective countries under bilateral mechanism. Prime Minister Modi will attend the ASEAN-India summit tomorrow.