President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is one of the Chief Guests during India’s Republic Day celebration in New Delhi, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Friday, January 19.
The President is expected to arrive in New Delhi on January 24 to attend the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit (AICS) on January 25 and the Republic Day celebration on January 26.
AICS is the culminating activity for the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-India relations with the theme “Shared Values, Common Destiny.”
The ASEAN leaders attending the summit will be welcomed by President Ram Nath Kovind during lunch.
The summit proper would consist of the retreat session that will focus on maritime cooperation and the plenary session that is expected to discuss regional and international issues as well as the future course of ASEAN-India relations.
To cap the summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host a cultural program and a banquet on the evening of the 25th in honor of the ASEAN leaders.
“For our Summit in New Delhi, we are looking on an outcome document and it’s called the Delhi Declaration, which will be released in conjunction with the Summit,” DFA Assistant Secretary Ma. Hellen de la Vega said in a pre-departure briefing in Malacañang.
On the same day, the 11 ASEAN-India commemorative stamps, which will portray the cultural links between each country in ASEAN and India, will be released.
The Foreign Affairs department noted that India is an important dialogue partner of ASEAN and under the ASEAN-India plan of action, trade and investment, connectivity, agriculture, tourism, culture, science and technology, and climate change are among the priority areas of cooperation.
ASEAN and India established dialogue relations in 1992 and India became a full dialogue partner of ASEAN in 1995.
In 2016, India remained as one of ASEAN’s top trading partners in 2016, with total trade volume amounting to $58.45 billion, and ranked as the 7th largest source of foreign direct investments with inflows from India to ASEAN recorded at nearly US$1.5 billion.
India was one of ASEAN’s top five partners in development assistance with funded projects and programs amounting to US$55.5 million in 2017.
For the Republic Day this year, DFA said India decided to invite all 10 leaders of ASEAN as Chief Guests to witness the grand ceremony and the spectacular parade.
“So that demonstrates… the importance that India attaches to ASEAN,” De La Vega said.
In previous celebrations, India had the following guests: Queen Elizabeth II in 1961; President Nelson Mandela in 1995; President Vladimir Putin in 2007; Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2014; and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan last year.
“The Republic Day on the 26th is a tradition that people of India are proud of,” the DFA official said. PND