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New Delhi : The President of India Ram Nath Kovind received the ASEAN Heads of State and Government at Rashtrapati Bhavan on January 25, 2018, and hosted a lunch in their honour.

Speaking on the occasion, President Kovind said that India-ASEAN relations have come a long way since we established our Dialogue Partnership with ASEAN on January 28, 1992. ” Today, ASEAN is a Strategic Partner for India. We have 30 dialogue mechanisms between India and ASEAN, including Annual Summits and 7 Ministerial Meetings in a wide range of sectors,” he said.

The President, according to a PIB release, said,” India’s “Act East policy” reinforces our ancient links with Southeast Asia through enhanced political, security, economic and cultural ties. In this context, India greatly values ASEAN’s role as a proponent of peace, stability and prosperity in the region. We iterate our support to ASEAN’s unity and centrality. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with ASEAN in pursuit of a rules-based regional architecture that is open, inclusive, balanced and equitable.”

The President said that India and ASEAN are bound by history and by geography. ” Culture, commerce and connectivity – and ideas and thought – have woven us together in one common fabric. Our partnership is based on our shared heritage and is built on the foundation of strong people-to-people contacts, nurtured through the millennia. The theme of the Commemorative Summit, “Shared Values, Common Destiny”, is reflective of our desire to work for a shared future,” he added.

The 10 ASEAN Heads of State and Government, who visited the Rashtrapati Bhavan, are: Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah of Brunei, President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte of Philippines, Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore, Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Md. Najib Bin Tun Abdul Razak of Malaysia, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha of Thailand, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of Vietnam, and Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith of Lao PDR.

These leaders are in India to attend the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit.  They will be Guests of Honour at India’s 69th Republic Day celebrations on January 26, according to the PIB release.

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