2018 marks 25 years of strong relationship between India and ASEAN. It also marks the first time when 10 glorious leaders of world would grace the Republic Day celebrations of India. India being most sought after nation in Southeast Asia, it marks as a great tribute to ASEAN.
It is very special because the Southeast Asian bloc completed its 50 years of formation as it was created on 8 August 1967.
Head of the State: Joko Widodo
- Last visited the country in December 2016.
- First Indonesian president without a high-ranking political or military background.
- Region’s biggest country and one of the founders of the Afro-Asia cooperation.
- Eyeing to play a key role in the Indian Ocean region, is seeking to expand ties with India.
Head of the State: Lee Hsien Loong
- Has been a strong supporter of ties with India, been in favor of a large role for India in South East Asia.
- Has been one of the key pillars of India’s Look East and Act East policy.
- PM Modi will visit Singapore twice this year- Shangrila Dialogue early June and again for East Asia and India- ASEAN summits later this year.
- Singapore is a strong supporter of upholding rule of law amid China’s activities in South China Sea.
Head of the State: Nguyen Xuan Phuc
- Emerged as the most important pillar of India Act East policy and a key defense partner
- Vietnam’s role in standing up to the might of China has been well appreciated by India.
- Vietnam wants a wider Indian presence in SE Asia to balance China’s presence.
- PM Modi visited Vietnam in 2016 ahead of his trip to China and recently met Phuc in Manila on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit.
Head of the State: Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak
- Keen to expand ties with India, extended certain capacity-building expertise to India.
- Hosted PM Modi in 2015 during the India-ASEAN and East Asia summits.
- In 2017, India and Malaysia signed a new business deal amounting to U$36 billion with the exchange of 31 trades the largest in the history of economic relations between the two countries.
- 30% doctors in Malaysia today have been studied in India. India provides scholarship to Malaysian students.
Head of the State: General Prayut Chan-O-Cha
- Believes in keeping options open by expanding ties with India, though China is also an important partner
- Thailand is key connectivity partner for India is SE Asia through India-Myanmar-Thailand highway, which will be expanded to Vietnam.
- Key member of sub-regional cooperation BIMSTEC.
- Backed India’s counter-terror moves and even extradited terrorists in the past few years.
- India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand along the Andaman Sea.
Head of the State: Aung San Suu Kyi
- Aung San Suu Kyi, studied political science from the Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi and graduated in 1964.
- She is also a fellow in Shimla at the prestigious Indian Institute of Advanced Studies.
- PM Modi announced India’s support for improving Rakhine’s economic conditions during his Myanmar visit.
- Important ally of India
Head of the State: Rodrigo Roa Duterte
- Met PM Modi for the first time in last November as the host of ASEAN as well as East Asia summits.
- Will visit India for the first time and is seeking India’s support in building infrastructure.
- Decalred his intention to pursue an independent foreign policy with India.
Head of the State: Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah
- Wealthiest individuals in the world, after the death of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 2016, he is now wealthiest monarch in the world.
- Praised for holding the country together.
- Brunei has been supportive of India’s ‘Look East Policy and has welcomed ‘Act East’ policy and expansion and deepening of cooperation with ASEAN. Brunei took over as India-ASEAN Coordinator from July 2012 for three years.
Head of the State: Thongloun Sisoulith
- Has been in power since 2016
- Met PM Modi in 2017, ahead of the 14th India-ASEAN and 11th East Asia Summit.
- Laos has been supportive to India’s efforts to become permanent member of UN Security Council.
- “Indian Army Training Team” conducts training sessions for Lao defense forces in some basic tactics along with English language and computers
Head of the State: Hun Sen
- PM since 1985, he is one of the longest serving leaders in the world and will be on a state visit to India just after Republic Day.
- India agreed to preserve Angkor Wat temple when the Government of Cambodia appealed, between 1986 and 1993 and spent around 4 million dollars during this conservation.
- Though Cambodia is a close partner with China, India has provided various personnel to conduct the UNTAC-sponsored elections in Cambodia in 1993.
- India opened its Embassy in Phnom Penh in 1981 when Cambodia was internationally isolated.