India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will hold a summit to mark 25 years of ties, with Asean leaders also set to attend the country’s Republic Day celebrations.
The Asean-India Commemorative Summit (AICS), due to be held in New Delhi on January 25, will largely focus on trade, security and counter-terrorism.
The 10-member Asean comprises Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei.
It was “unprecedented” in India’s history to have 10 guests of honour at the Republic Day parade on January 26, said Preeti Saran, secretary (east) in India’s Foreign Ministry.
“We are delighted and honoured that all the 10 Asean leaders have confirmed their participation in the commemorative summit as well as to be guests of honour at the Republic Day,” Saran said.
She said that in the run up to the summit on January 25, the government also planned to organise 16 other major events.
The summit will begin with a banquet hosted by President Ramnath Kovind, to be followed by a plenary and a “gala dinner to be hosted by Modi.
Saran said special arrangements have been made for spouses of at least six of the 10 leaders who would travel to India.
Every year, India invites one foreign leader as its guest of honour at the Republic Day parade, which commemorates the country’s constitution, adopted in 1950.
Asean leaders will also hold bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The high level of participation at the summit comes against the backdrop of China’s rising economic and military assertiveness in the region.
Indian foreign affairs analysts say the meeting could be an opportunity for New Delhi to present itself as a partner and play a bigger role in the region.
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