Singapore, Oct 5: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will lead a high-powered ministerial delegation to the ASEAN-India 'Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas' which will be held in Singapore next year, India's envoy said.
"Minister Swaraj will lead the Indian delegation to the ASEAN-India Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas 2018 which will also be attended by Indian ministers and a number of chief ministers, besides business leaders and independent experts," Jawed Ashraf, India's High Commissioner to Singapore, said. He announced this at a media briefing and launch of the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas 2018 to be held on January 6-7.
Leaders from the region in different walks of life, including politics, business, government, academia, and culture from the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) will also be speaking at the two-day gathering, which is expected to be the largest Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas meeting abroad. The Indian High Commission is targeting a participation of 3,000 delegates at the convention. The PBD 2018 is an important part of the celebration of 25 years of the ASEAN-India partnership, Ashraf said.
An elaborate programme is planned covering ASEAN-India relations, role of diaspora in the dynamic bilateral partnership, history of the diaspora and its aspirations and achievements in the grouping's member countries, business, exhibitions and cultural events, ayurveda and yoga. There will also be competitions and events for the diaspora youth.
"We hope to create platforms and channels that will enable our diaspora not only to connect more closely with each other in the region and with India, but also participate more intensively in promoting closer ties between India and ASEAN member countries," said the envoy.
"ASEAN-India partnership as also India's relations with individual members have seen enormous progress in the past 25 years, he said, and the future for India and ASEAN and the relationship looks brighter," said Ashraf. He stressed on the event being one of the biggest platforms for people of South East Asia to get an in-depth understanding of Indian culture, business opportunities and the diversity of India's society.
"Prosperity of both Indian and ASEAN markets is a work in progress for the next 25 years, which is to be built on the 25 years' achievement we have in a wide range of fields including defence," he said. ASEAN consists of 10 countries Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.