ASEAN-India car rally reaches Vietnam
Participants of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-India Car Rally 2012 received a warm welcome as they reached Vietnam in the sixth leg on Thursday.
The rally has so far covered a total distance of about 4000 kilometres across five nations- Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia.
From Cambodia, the 31 cars brought in ferries, crossed the Mekong River at Neak Leung, which is 65 kilometres from Phnom Penh.
On reaching Ho Chi Minh city, the main city of Vietnam, drivers were greeted with cheering locals, including children waving miniature flags of ASEAN countries.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who was also present on the occasion, said the rally would boost ties with Vietnam.
"It will improve connectivity of land, sea and air it will boost trade and investment flows, tourism and build people-to-people contact. I am glad to learn that India and Vietnam are actively working to establish direct air link which I hope will fructify in the near future," he said.
The ASEAN- India Car Rally 2012, organized by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), kicked off on 26th November 2012 at Yogyakarta, Indonesia with a ceremonial flag off at Singapore.
The car rally marks the 20th commemorative year of the ASEAN- India relations and 10th year of the summit-level engagement and was organised in close coordination with ASEAN states and the ASEAN secretariat.
This is the second edition of the car rally (the first being held in 2004), which will travel through 8 of the 10 ASEAN states, and it will ceremonially end in New Delhi on December 20, and will be flagged down by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
India's Dialogue Partnership with the ASEAN countries is one of the cornerstones of its 'Look East' policy.
The country sees this partnership as a step to further economic growth and prosperity, peace and stability in the region.
ASEAN-India trade in 2011-12 reached USD 79.3 billion, crossing the target of USD 70 billion by 2012 set in 2009.
Both have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in Goods, which was signed in 2009 and which became fully operational in August 2011.