To mark and celebrate the 25 years of India-ASEAN ties, a tableau themed on the same was presented during the 69th Republic Day celebrations. The ASEAN-India Tableau portrayed educational, historical and civilizational links as the binding force between India and the ASEAN countries.
The front portion depicted the ancient Nalanda University, which was a world-renowned centre for learning and Buddhist Studies. Several students from South East Asia studied at this University. One of the Srivijaya Kings, Balaputradewa, in fact, built a monastery in Nalanda for students from Srivijaya.
The rear portion of the tableau portrayed the ‘Bali Jatra’. India's historical and civilizational links with ASEAN countries were forged through maritime voyages undertaken by adventurers, kings, merchants, savants, religious men, royal emissaries and others. The seas not only connected communities but also facilitated the cross-pollination of ideas and art, religion, language and statecraft. Till date the annual festival of ‘Bali Jatra’ held in Orissa commemorates the memory of the brave traders and voyagers who undertook voyages across the seas and pays tributes to them. The tableau also depicted the markets of ASEAN countries where commodities were traded.
The second ASEAN-India Tableau projects religion as one of the strongest linkages between India and the South East Asia.
Buddhist monks exchanged visits between India and South East Asia. Among other kings, Emperor Ashoka sent Buddhist emissaries to Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam as well as the Malay Peninsula. From the ancient period upto the 12th century, Hinduism permeated throughout South East Asia as a way of life. The entire ASEAN region incorporates significant elements of Hinduism in its architecture, arts, sculpture, dance, drama and literature.
The front portion of the tableau portrays the Maha Bodhi Temple and Bodhi Tree at Bodhgaya where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment. These are revered as the holiest shrines for practitioners of Buddhism all over the world, including in South East Asia. The various regions of ASEAN have their own versions of Ramayana, which include, Ramakien in Thailand, Ramaker in Cambodia, Phra Lok Phra Lam in Laos, Yama Zatddaw in Myanmar, Kakawin Ramayana in Indonesia, Hikayat Seri Rama in Malaysia, Maharadi Lawana in Phillippines. The rear portion of the tableau depicts a mélange of diverse South East Asian Ramayanas.
The accompanying element on ground shows couples wearing traditional attire of the ten ASEAN countries and carrying the flags of India and the concerned ASEAN country.
Signifying India's fast growing strategic ties with ASEAN, leaders of all the 10 countries of the powerful bloc on Friday attended the Republic Day parade at the majestic Rajpath which showcased the country's military might and cultural diversity.
The presence of the ASEAN leaders was unprecedented and reflective of India's stature as a major power in the region, where China has been trying to expand its influence. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invited the ASEAN leaders for the India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit and to attend the Republic Day celebrations as chief guests.
The ASEAN leaders joined President Ram Nath Kovind and Modi at the Republic Day parade
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Prime Minister of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith and Cambodian Premier Hun Sen also watched the grand parade.
The ties between India and ASEAN have been on an upswing. The ASEAN region along with India has a combined population of 1.85 billion people, which is one fourth of the global population, and their combined GDP has been estimated at over USD 3.8 trillion.
Investment from ASEAN to India has been over USD 70 billion in the last 17 years accounting for more than 17 per cent of India's total FDI. India's investment in ASEAN during the same period has been more than USD 40 billion.
The parade ceremony commenced at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate after prime minister Modi led the nation in paying homage to the martyrs by laying a wreath.
An eternal flame burns at the Amar Jawan Jyoti to commemorate the indomitable courage of India's armed forces personnel who have made the supreme sacrifice in the service of the nation.
As per tradition, after unfurling the national flag, the parade began and the President took the salute of the marching contingents.
The marching contingents included one carrying flags of the 10 ASEAN countries.
The parade was commanded by Lt. General Asit Mistry, General Officer Commanding, Headquarters Delhi Area.