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Future of ASEAN, India lies in connectivity : PM

Posted on Dec 22, 11:40AM | UNI

The ASEAN-India car rally was flagged down here today with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stating that the event had rekindled ancient bonds of friendship between India and countries of the Southeast Asia and served to highlight the natural strategic imperative for this relationship in contemporary times.

"It is a tribute to earlier generations of merchants, monks and adventurers, who traversed this route in a quest for fortune, knowledge and spirituality," Dr Singh said at the Flag Down function attended by 10 leaders of the ASEAN countries who had come here to attend the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit, and other guests.

"l would like to begin by conveying, on behalf of more than a billion people, a very warm welcome to the ASEAN-India Car Rally participants. I congratulate them on successfully completing a remarkable journey of 8000 km through eight countries in 22 days," he said.

Dr Singh said, "The rally symbolised the vision of an ASEAN-India community where people, goods, services and ideas could travel freely between us".

The Prime Minister sought to emphasise that whether it was by road from India to Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand, or by air or sea to Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore, the future would be driven by the bonds of connectivity these countries build in the coming years.

" These physical bonds will be strengthened by digital links, which will help our younger generations to network better.

Together, this web of linkages will help unleash the vast economic potential of our region, accelerate development and deepen our strategic partnership," he said.