As part of the commemoration of 25 years of strategic partnership of India-ASEAN. ASEAN-India PBD 2018 took place in Singapore on the 6-7th January 2018 at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre.
The theme of the PBD Convention was “Ancient Route, New Journey: Diaspora in the Dynamic India-ASEAN Partnership”. .
Around 600 invited delegates including around 250 start ups (120 from India) participated in the event. 16 thematic sessions and various parallel events took place with over 100 eminent speakers from India, Singapore and ASEAN region.
The topics spanned across ASEAN-India economic partnership, India and ASEAN in the Digital World; Infrastructure; Financial Partnership; expanding trade and services; Make in India; legal framework of doing business in India and ASEAN; Science & Technology; and, Tourism and Connectivity.
The keynote speakers included Mr. S. Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry), Singapore, Tun S Samy Vellu , Special Envoy to India and South Asia on Infrastructure at Prime Minister’s Office, Malaysia, Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, India, Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs, India, H.E. Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Singapore etc…
The choice of Singapore as the venue reflects Singapore’s centrality in India-ASEAN Strategic Partnership and the emergence of a vibrant community of Indian origin in Singapore.”
Ms Swaraj, in her address said, ‘ For more than two thousand years,
India and Southeast Asia have engaged and enriched each other in every walk of life. Across Southeast Asia’s magnificent diversity, I see the symbols of our ties: on the streets,in life at homes, in the grace of the people, in the grandeur of temples, in our handlooms,weaves and textiles; in the rituals of diverse faiths, in the timeless majesty of epics like
Ramayana and Mahabharata, in the wisdom of folk lore, in the symbols and sounds of languages, in the poetry of the dances, in the melody of the music and in the flavours of the food. The depth of our civilizational and cultural bonds are infinite.
Mr Vivian Balakrishnan in his address said, ‘ The theme ‘Ancient Route, New Journey’ is very apt. We remember the links that have bound us not just over centuries, but over millennia. We should also look forward to new opportunities to do even more – not just at the bilateral level, but at the regional and global level.
The Indian diaspora has travelled across ‘Ancient Routes’ to reach our region, and it is equally important for us to remember that there are ‘New Journeys’ ahead of us.
Mr S. Iswaran said that, the opportunity for collaboration partnership between India and ASEAN is self evident. He pointed out few areas like infrastructure, Smart cities, start ups and innovation, Digital economy and e-commerce, Trade and Service as in which India and ASEAN can focus their energies to achieve significant outcomes.
What is PBD?
On January 1915, Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa. To commemorate this day, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (Non-Resident Indian Day) is celebrated in India on 9 January every year to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community to the development of India.
There were cultural programs from Raghu Dixit, the front man for the Raghu Dixit project, a multi-lingual folk music band, Sonam Kalra, a multiple award winning singer and composer, various form of Indian dances were performed by local Singapore arts schools, Apsaras, Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society, Temple of Fine arts etc….
There were exhibitions on Indian craftsmen highlighting rich and diverse culture through woods, pottery, beadwork jewellery, embroidery etc…The photographic exhibition showcased the dynamic worlds of the Indian Subcontinent and South East Asia’s trade, cuisine, philosophy etc…Art exhibition that took the viewers back to the ancient connectivity between India and South East Asia, since the Chola Period.
There were online competitions for essay and poetry writing targeting the youth between the ages 10 and 25.
The two days mega event came to end with a Gala Dinner that featured the cultural and culinary experience that reflect Indian experience in the region. The welcome address was given by Ms Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister, India and Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and co-ordinating Minister for National Security H.E. Mr Teo Chee Hean as the Special Guest.