The power of 10

In­dia all set to ramp up its en­gage­ment with ASEAN coun­tries

Governance Now - - PARLIAMENT - Shankar Ku­mar

Pageantry has been a com­mon fea­ture of ev­ery Repub­lic Day func­tion that In­dia has or­gan­ised since 1950. How­ever, it has not been with­out a fairly large share of weighty po­lit­i­cal and diplo­matic sym­bol­ism. From the time when New Delhi in­vited charis­matic In­done­sian pres­i­dent Sukarno to be the chief guest at the first Repub­lic Day func­tion, to the most re­cent, when it made Abu Dhabi crown Prince Sheikh mo­hammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan the chief guest at its 68th Repub­lic Day func­tion, each one brought its own heft to In­dia’s na­tional in­ter­est.

But the 2018 Repub­lic Day would see a ma­jor de­par­ture from the past as all 10 heads of gov­ern­ment/state from As­so­ci­a­tion of South-east Asian Na­tions (ASEAN) mem­bers, in­stead of just one, are ex­pected to grace the oc­ca­sion as chief guests – a rare diplo­matic ini­tia­tive that New Delhi un­der­takes to com­mem­o­rate 25 years of its en­gage­ment with the group­ing that com­prises In­done­sia, Thai­land, The Philip­pines, malaysia, Sin­ga­pore, myan­mar, Laos, Viet­nam, cam­bo­dia and Brunei.

“meet­ings for Hos/hog [heads of state/heads of gov­ern­ment] are [be­ing] worked out through diplo­matic chan­nels” to fa­cil­i­tate their ar­rival as chief guests at the 68th Repub­lic Day, min­istry of ex­ter­nal af­fairs spokesper­son gopal Baglay told Gov­er­nance Now.

An­other se­nior MEA of­fi­cial, re­quest­ing anonymity, said in­vi­ta­tion let­ters are be­ing pre­pared and each head of gov­ern­ment/state of ASEAN would be handed over the in­vi­ta­tion card along with a per­sonal let­ter from prime min­is­ter Naren­dra modi.

A day af­ter the Repub­lic Day pa­rade, the South­east Asian lead­ers would par­tic­i­pate in the ASEAN-IN­DIA sum­mit where they will be wear­ing In­dian kurta-pa­ja­mas and sleeve­less jacket.

The high-level source, how­ever, re­fused to com­ment on whether china, Aus­tralia, New Zealand, Ja­pan and South Ko­rea – di­a­logue part­ners of ASEAN – would be in­vited for the sum­mit that would be an­other big diplo­matic event on the coun­try’s soil af­ter In­dia-pa­cific Is­lan­ders’ meet held on Au­gust 21, 2015 and the oc­to­ber 26-30, 2015 In­dia-africa sum­mit.

Against the back­drop of the on­go­ing bor­der ten­sion be­tween In­dia and china, some ex­perts view the move to host the ASEAN-IN­DIA sum­mit as New Delhi’s at­tempt to con­sol­i­date its po­si­tion among South­east Asian coun­tries

T- 90 (Bhishma) tanks trun­dle down Ra­j­path on Repub­lic Day 2017

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.