The countdown to India’s Republic Day celebration is clocking down, but this year’s January 26th celebration will also include a commemorative summit marking 25 years of India’s association with ASEAN nations. India, in its firsts, will host 10 ASEAN leaders as the chief guests of the annual Republic Day parade at New Delhi.
The Republic Day parades at New Delhi are always phenomenal, however, this year’s parade will be extra special as 10 state-members of the ASEAN nations will be attending the ceremony alongside PM Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind. For the first time, the Republic Day parade of India will be attended by not just one, but 10 world leaders as chief guests. The ASEAN chief guests include President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of Vietnam, Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia, General Prayuth Chan-o-cha of Thailand, Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte, the Sultan of Brunei, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith of Laos and Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of Cambodia.
However, it is not just about India’s Republic Day as India is hosting a commemorative summit marking silver jubilee of India-ASEAN bilateral ties. The main theme of this summit will be “Shared Values, Common Destiny” on 25 January. This historic summit will highlight the similarities and commonalities in interests between Asia’s third largest economy and the bloc of South Asian countries including Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia and Laos PDR.
Besides the summit, PM Modi will be holding 9 bilateral meetings with leaders of these South Asian countries to discuss their interests and deepen bilateral ties in security, counter-terrorism and trade connectivity sectors. After the meetings and summits, all 10 leaders of ASEAN bloc will join India’s 69th Republic Day celebration, giving Indian tradition of inviting a single head of foreign country, a break for good.