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Posted on Nov 26, 10:18AM | IANS
The 8,000-km Asean-India car rally, which kicks off Monday in the historic Indonesian city of Yogyakarta, aims to celebrate the 20 years of close ties between India and southeast Asian countries and enhance trade in the region.
The rally, to begin at 9 a.m., is being jointly organised by India's ministry of external affairs, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and all Asean nations,
The car rally is part of the run-up to the India-Asean summit to be held in New Delhi Dec 20-21.
The rally also aims to create public awareness, promote connectivity, and enhance trade, investment, tourism and people to people links between Asean countries and India, the Indian embassy in Jakarta said in a statement.
It will travel across nine countries over 22 days. A total of 124 participants from 11 countries are taking part. It will culminate in India's Guwahati city Dec 17.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other heads of state of all Asean countries will take part in a ceremonial flag down in New Delhi Dec 20.
During the Indonesian leg of the journey, the rally will cover a distance of 134 km from Yogyakarta to Surakarta via Borobudur.
On Sunday, there was a cultural performance based on the epic Ramayana against the backdrop of the historic Prambanan temple, a Unesco heritage monument at Yogyakarta.
For the flag-off ceremony Nov 26, an Indian cultural troupe showcasing Manipuri dance has been specially flown in under the aegis of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
The rally would proceed to the historic and majestic Borobudur temple, the largest Buddhist temple in the world, where a bronze bust of Indian Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore will be installed in the temple complex.
The bust has been sculpted by Janak Jhankar Nazary, professor of art history in Viswa Bharti, and gifted by India's ministry of culture to commemorate the visit of Tagore to Indonesia in 1927.
Tagore had visited Borobudur temple, planted a sapling and sitting on the steps of the temple wrote a poem "To Jawa", expressing his love for the island.