Monday, June 24, 2024
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Indo-ASEAN car rally enters Assam

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From Our Correspondent

 Guwahati: Participants of the ASEAN-India Car Rally, which will come to an end on Monday at the Sarusajai Stadium in Guwahati, entered Assam on Sunday. Many streets in Guwahati on Sunday were decked up to welcome the 31-car Indo-ASEAN Car Rally that was flagged off from the South Indonesian city of Jogjakarta on November 25 last. The rally arrived here this afternoon to a rousing welcome.

The formal flag down ceremony that will be held at the national games stadium here on Monday and it would be will be marked by a high-level trade conclave besides a colourful ceremony. The 31 vehicles participating in the rally entered Assam after a night halt at Kohima in Nagaland and was received at the border near Nambor Reserve Forest by Golaghat Deputy Commissioner Sanjiv Gohain Boruah.

The participants then headed for Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) where they were given a traditional welcome.

The rallyists, which include among others BJP Rajya Sabha MP Tarun Vijay and the oldest participant 73-year old Subhas Chandra from New Delhi, also took part in a tea plantation programme organised by NRL following which they left for Guwahati.

The car rally is being held to celebrate the 20 years of dialogue partnership of India with Southeast Asian bloc ASEAN. Assam Industries and Commerce Minister Pradyut Bardoloi said here that the car rally was part of the series of events celebrating 20th anniversary of ASEAN-India relations. The fleet of Hardy Mahindra SUVs has covered more than 8,000 kms touching eight of the ASEAN nations by the time it reached Guwahati this afternoon.

The participants were also welcomed at the Kaziranga National Park by a cavalcade of elephants. Local people, mostly school children, waved flags of the participating countries. The rally entered Moreh in Manipur, India’s gateway to ASEAN countries, on Saturday and it will culminate on Monday in Guwahati.

The ASEAN-India Car Rally 2012, jointly organised by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), began on November 26 at Yogyakarta in Indonesia with a flag off at Singapore. The car rally traversed a distance of 8,000 km across nine countries over 22 days with 124 participants from 11 countries.

The flag down ceremony will be graced by Union Minister of State for Industries and Commerce Dr D Purandeswari besides industries and commerce ministers and Ambassadors of some of the ASEAN countries and a group of Indian industrialists. The main objective behind the is to boost bilateral ties in trade and commerce, culture among ASEAN countries .The Government of India because of its Look East Policy (LEP) hopes to have closer ties in various sectors with ASEAN nations.

Assam’s Industries and Commerce Minister Bardoloi claimed that the volume of trade between India and ASEAN nations increased from 21 billion US dollars to 57 billion US dollars since the last Indo-ASEAN Car Rally that was flagged off in Guwahati 2004 by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.

Bordoloi informed that the focus areas of the conclave are manufacturing, mining, IT and IT enabled services, education, healthcare, agriculture and food processing, border trade, infrastructure development, air and sea connectivity and cultural exchange.

He said it would not be prudent to expect overnight results out of the car rally in respect of improvement in trade relations and other ties with ASEAN countries, but it would definitely act as a bridge between the India and its ASEAN neighbours in strengthening ties.

He said the last car rally was instrumental in improving ties with Myanmar. (With inputs from PTI)

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