The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – India Car Rally 2012, organized by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) will be kicked off on 26th November 2012 at Yogyakarta, Indonesia with a ceremonial flag off at Singapore.
Organized in close cooperation with ASEAN states and the ASEAN secretariat, the car rally marks the 20th commemorative year of the ASEAN – India relations and 10th year of the summit level engagement. The second edition of the car rally (first edition held in 2004), will wind through 8 of the 10 ASEAN states and will be ceremonially flagged down in Delhi on 20th December 2012 by Prime Minister Dr Mnamohan Singh in the presence of 10 Heads of State from the ASEAN countries . The intense involvement of India in the rally demonstrates the importance India has assigned to the “Look East Policy” and synergies and complementarities that it shares with the ASEAN states.
Importantly, India became a full dialogue partner of ASEAN in 1995 and has been holding summit level meetings since 2002 on an annual basis. In 2009, India signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the ASEAN member countries, which will become operational on a phased manner between 2013 and 2016.
ASEAN has emerged as one of the most important trading partners of India accounting for bilateral trade of $79 billion (10 per cent of India’s total trade) in 2011-12, crossing the target of $ 70 billion by 2012 set in 2009. ASEAN total trade was of the order of $1.5 trillion in 2010, including intra-ASEAN trade. Exports stood at $810.5 billion while imports were $726.4 billion. About a quarter of the aggregate trade is within the region. India stood at 9th position in the top ten trading partners. India again was at 9th rank in terms of import sources. Indian industry considers India-ASEAN partnership as a big opportunity to accelerate economic integration of the region, which would be beneficial for prosperity, peace and stability in the region.
“The ASEAN – India Car Rally is symbolic in many aspects. Apart from bringing the economic engagement of India with the member states into sharp focus in areas like trade, investment, tourism, the rally is designed to promote people-to-people contacts. It also signifies the close geographical proximity of India with the ASEAN, commonality in culture and traditions and shared vision for the progress and development of the region. Importantly building a pan-ASEAN road connectivity with India is a cherished goal to bring the nations and people together,”….says CII.
Keeping these broad objectives, an elaborate and meticulous plan has been chalked out to make the event high profile, to ingrain strong economic content, roll out the schedules of the cross –country events with clinical precision and above all to make it a people’s event. The car rally will mark cruising of 31 Mahindra & Mahindra XUV 5oo vehicles through India and 8 of the 10 ASEAN countries in 22 days, covering a distance of 8000 kms. 124participants from 11 nationalities will travel together in a piloted convoy on a predetermined route along with a large media contingent.
There will be cultural marker events all along the rally route to give expression to the diverse art forms of the region. Some of the highlights of the high profile event include flag-off of the rally by Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak at Putrajaya on 28 November, 2012 to mark the Malaysian leg of the rally. Thai leg of the rally will be flagged off by Thai Prime Minister Ms Yingluck Shinawatraat Bangkok on 2 December 2012. Prime Minister of theKingdom of Cambodia, Samdech AkkaMohaSenaPadeiTecho Hun Sen will flag off the Cambodian leg of the rally in the presence of Dr Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister, Kingdom of Cambodia.
The Rally will formally end in Guwahati with a flag-down ceremony on 17 December 2012 byMr Anand Sharma, Union Minister of Commerce, Industry& Textiles in the presence of trade ministers from the ASEAN countries. The Rally will finally culminate in Delhi with a ceremonial flag-down on 20 December by Prime Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh.
Along with the car rally, business marker events will be organized in countries en route to connect with the industry and the common man with the theme “Connecting Business strengthening Economic Partnerships”, theseevents will focus sectors like manufacturing, mining, IT &ITeS, education, healthcare, agri& food processing, border trade, investment & financing, infrastructure & development, air & sea connectivity and people to people contacts. Business events are being held in Singapore,Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh and Mandalay on topical subjects inviting speakers from member countries and India.
Mahindra & Mahindra is the vehicle partner and the principal co-partners are Apollo, Hoa Sen Group, Ministry of Tourism and RITES and the technical partner is Autocar.