New Delhi: Leaders of all 10 Asean countries have confirmed their participation as Guests of Honour at India’s Republic Day celebrations to commemorate 25 years of New Delhi’s close ties with the southeast Asian bloc.
Preeti Saran, Secretary East in the External Affairs Ministry, told reporters here on Wednesday that it was “unprecedented” in India’s history to have 10 Guests of Honour at the Republic Day parade — a mix of India’s military might and cultural heritage.
“This time, we will have all the 10 Asean leaders. 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 it was a landmark year for Asean and India as they are celebrating 25 years of friendship, 15 years of summit partnership and five years of strategic partnership. She said that in the run up to the summit on January 25, the government also planned to organise another 16 major events.
The leaders from Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam will start arriving by January 24. 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 Prime Minister” Narendra Modi.
Saran said special arrangements have been made for spouses of at least six of the 10 leaders who would travel to India.