PNG Minister Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurates international conference India-ASEAN Partnership@25

New Delhi: A conference titled India-ASEAN Partnership@25 was held on December 13 at the Taj Mansingh. The event was organized by Kalinga International Foundation (KIF), a think tank that brings together the east and north-eastern region of India with our neighbours, the ASEAN states and the wider Indo-Pacific region (details about KIF given below).
The Conference started at 2 PM and had as its Chief Guest, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, at the inaugural session.
There were five thematic sessions that included the inaugural and valedictory, with the participation of distinguished scholars, former diplomats and ambassadors of the ASEAN states.
The inaugural session called the India-ASEAN Strategic Partnership and the Act East Policy was followed by a session on Economic Co-operation with ASEAN, Regional and Bilateral Co-operation, Security Challenges, and The Importance of the North East and Eastern Region of India for the Act East Policy.
Shri Dharmendra Pradhan spoke of Odisha’s deep interactions seeped in history with South-East Asia.
“Our interactions over centuries have extended beyond Indonesia to include expressions of shared heritage and culture that are dotted across the region and find expression in strands of everyday life of the people. Historically and culturally, the links between India and South-East Asia have been deep and profound,” Pradhan said.
“India embarked on the policy of ‘Look East’ for a long time. However, our PM, has given further impetus by initiating the policy of ‘Act East’, to galvanise relations with the economically vibrant ASEAN region. The upgrade from the Look East to Act East policy, with the ASEAN at the core, was among the earliest initiatives of the Modi government,” he added.
Guest of Honour, Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North-Eastern Region, touched upon practical initiatives for overall economic development of the North-East and its economic integration with the larger region. Specific sectors that he mentioned were tourism, cross-border trade facilitation, connectivity, start-up. He emphasised the importance of north-east an an important engine of future growth for India.
The inaugural session was attended by the ambassadors of Philippines to India Her excellency Teresita C. Daza and Vietnam to India His excellency Ton Sinh Thanh,.
Lalit Mansingh, former foreign secretary of India and the Chairman of KIF, said that KIF’s mandate is the entire spectrum of foreign policy and security issues but its focus is on two critical geographies, the North-East and the Eastern region of India and the eastern and south-eastern periphery of India. Paraphrasing Rabindranath Tagore who invited people from from across the oceans to congregate on the shores of India and celebrate their humanity, Mansingh said that it is in this spirit that Prime Minister Modi has invited the 10 heads of State and governments of ASEAN countries as Guests of Honour for India’s Republic Day next month. Calling Pradhan “a true Kalinga personality” he thanked him for making “millions of the poorest homelands in India glow with energy”.
We would be grateful for the coverage of our event in your esteemed paper.

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