JAKARTA, 20 January 2017 – The 2nd International Conference on ASEAN-India Cultural and Civilisational Links concluded yesterday.  It was a follow-up to the first ASEAN-India Cultural Links: Historical and Contemporary Dimensions held in 2015. The conference also served as the first of a series of commemorative events to celebrate the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-India dialogue partnership and the 50th anniversary of ASEAN.

Guest speakers and delegates from all ASEAN Member States and India presented the traces of ASEAN-India cultural links which have been continuously recorded  since more than 2000 years ago. Their topics included trade, maritime and cultural links, and the future of ASEAN-India partnership in culture. The speakers emphasised the need to further strengthen the existing cooperation between ASEAN and India, and identify feasible policy options to overcome the challenges to ASEAN-India strategic partnership through people-to-people connectivity and cultural relations.

In his keynote remarks, Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, said “the conference on ASEAN-India Cultural and Civilisational Links cannot be overstated as such inter-connectedness underpins the enduring cultural influences of India on the peoples of ASEAN and vice versa.” He further stressed the need to put due focus on inter-cultural links as they are critical to connect and bridge differences, and underscore the promotion of the cultural diversity of ASEAN and India. He also highlighted the importance of intercultural dialogue with emphasis on the long-lasting cultural threads that bind the region.

General (Dr.) V.K. Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs of India; A.M. Fachir, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia; Nguyen Quoc Dung, Deputy Foreign Minister of Viet Nam; and Suresh K. Reddy, Ambassador of Indian Mission to ASEAN also attended the conference as keynote speakers.

The conference was co-organised by the Ministry of External Affairs of India, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, and ASEAN-India Centre, with the support of Viet Nam, the Country Coordinator of ASEAN-India Dialogue Partnership.