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ASEAN leaders arrive for landmark summit, will be chief guests at Republic Day parade

By Deepika

India will host the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit in New Delhi on 25th and 26th January. Delegation of leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN - Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday. The Indonesian President is scheduled to arrive on Thursday.

Image for representation only

The world leaders will attend India's 69th Republic Day celebration at the India Gate on Friday. The event will mark 25 years of India's ties with the southeast Asian bloc.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held separate bilateral meetings with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, President of Philippines Rodrigo Roa Duterte and State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi today.

The heads of state will meet President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan tomorrow.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar posted a series of tweets on the arrival of these leaders.

"India welcomes Prime Minister of Vietnam, Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Madame Tran Nguyen Thu for the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit. Warmly received by Minister of State for Human Resource Development Satyapal Singh," he tweeted.

While Aung San Suu Kyi was received by Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Anupriya Patel, Thailand prime minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha and his wife Naraporn Chan-o- cha were welcomed by Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, Kumar said.

President of Philippines Rodrigo Roa Duterte was also received by Satyapal Singh.

The highest-level of participation at the India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit, to mark the 25 years of Indo-ASEAN ties, comes in the backdrop of increasing Chinese economic and military assertiveness in the region.

The two-day summit is expected to give boost to India-ASEAN cooperation in key areas of counter-terrorism, security and connectivity.

There will be a leaders' retreat during which the leaders will have a "free and frank" discussion on January 25. The theme of the retreat session is 'maritime cooperation and security'.

Following the retreat, a plenary session will be held on the same day.

ASEAN comprises Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Laos and Brunei.

In the run-up to the summit, various programmes in different areas ranging from culture to trade have been organised by India.

According to officials, before the summit, discussions are also being held between the working groups of India and ASEAN to step up air and maritime connectivity.

OneIndia News (with PTI inputs)

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