New Delhi, December 31 (newsin.asia): All ten leaders of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) will be chief guests at the Indian Republic Day celebrations on January 26, 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here on Sundy.
In his Man ki Baat address to the nation, Modi said that ASEAN leaders from ten countries, namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam will the Chief Guests at the function.
When he assumed office as Prime Minister after sweeping the Indian parliamentary elections in May 2014, Modi invited all heads of government of all the SAARC countries, signifying his “Neighborhood First” policy.
But his “Neighborhood First” has not been much of a success given the growing strategic, military and economic influence of China in South Asia since 2014.
Modi has also had a “Look East” policy which involved closer interaction with South East Asian and East Asian countries including Japan but excluding Japan. One of the key components of the “Look East” policy is closer economic integration with ASEAN.
It is in pursuit of ASEAN that Modi has decided to invite its heads of government for the Republic Day celebrations on January 26, 2018. The celebrations include a military parade, cultural showcasing and the Beating Retreat ceremony in the evening which displays Indian military bands playing Indian martial music.