NEW DELHI – India celebrated on Friday the 69th Republic Day to commemorate the promulgation of its constitution with a civilian and military parade and leaders of countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as guests.
The capital city once again became the stage on which India displayed its military strength with a large parade that was attended by members of the government, parliament and the judiciary, as well as international dignitaries.
Before the parade, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid traditional tribute to the martyrs of India at the India Gate before the Amar Jawan Jyoti (Flame of the immortal soldier).
India this year invited leaders of the ASEAN countries – made up of Myanmar, Brunei, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – an honor which was bestowed upon Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi in 2017 and former French President François Hollande in 2016.
The Prime Ministers of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong; Vietnam, Nguyen Xuan Phuc; Malaysia, Najib Razak; Thailand, Prayuth Chan-ocha; Cambodia, Hun Sen; and Laos, Thongloun Sisoulith, attended the event, as did Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
The Presidents of Indonesia, Joko Widodo; and the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, attended the ceremony, along with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei.
ASEAN leaders also held a commemorative summit of the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-India relations on Thursday in New Delhi.
“Since 1992 our partnership has evolved, we have made success in implementing the objective of ASEAN-India partisanship for peace, progress and shared prosperity through five year plan of action,” said Modi in a speech during the summit.
The Indian prime minister highlighted the fact that trade between India and ASEAN has grown “25 times in 25 years” and that investments are robust and growing, and proposed to declare 2019 as the year to promote tourism.