India to show off its big Act East policy as ASEAN leaders begin diplomatic visit

PM Narendra Modi will hold three bilateral meetings Wednesday: With his Vietnamese counterpart; with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte; and with state counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi at Hyderabad House.

Army personnel carrying the national flags of ASEAN countries pass through the saluting base at Rajpath during the full dress rehearsal for the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi on Tuesday.(Mohd Zakir/HT)

Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc will arrive at 11.30am on Wednesday, the first Southeast Asian leader to pull in for the three-day diplomatic jamboree comprising the India-ASEAN summit, nine bilateral meetings, and Republic Day Parade on January 26.
Heads of nine ASEAN countries will arrive on Wednesday, while Indonesia President Joko Widodo will land on Thursday just in time for the summit where India will be ready to show off its big Act East policy, in a bid to bolster business and strategic ties with the 10 Southeast Asian countries to mark 25 years of its cooperation with the bloc.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold three bilateral meetings Wednesday: with his Vietnamese counterpart; with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte; and with state counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi at Hyderabad House.
On Thursday, the day of India-ASEAN summit, Modi will host Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Singapore Prime Minister Lee HsienLoong, and Sultan of Brueni Hassanal Bolkiah. Later, the leaders and their spouses will be received at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, where President Ram Nath Kovind will host a luncheon before they head for the retreat session themed on maritime cooperation and security in Modi’s presence.
This will be followed by a walk around the Mughal gardens at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and a group photo session of the leaders. Thereafter, the plenary session of the summit, where every leader will deliver a speech, will take place at Taj hotel in Chanakyapuri from 5pm.
The leaders will release commemorative stamps and attend a photo exhibition. The leaders will then attend a cultural show and the dinner hosted by Modi.
In the evening, Modi will have a bilateral meeting with President Joko Widodo. The leaders will attend the Republic Day parade on January 26 and Modi will have bilateral meetings with Prime Minister of Lao PDR. Thongloun Sisoulith and his Malaysian counterpart NajibRazak. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen will not have a bilateral meeting on the sidelines since there is a sttate visit from Cambodia from January 27. The celebrations began a year ago and in the past year, New Delhi has organized 36 events in India and Asean countries. “In the run-up to the summit, there were 6 events”, said an official.
“The South-East Asian region is economically very vibrant, we see a lot of potential...this is a vibrant economic commercial space for us. Already the Asean is our fourth largest trading partner and we are their seventh largest trading partner. Our investments in the last two decades has been $70 billion. And we see a lot of potential in engaging them further,” secretary east in the MEA Preeti Saran said. 
 Resources : Hindustan Times

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