Addressing the gathering HE Dr S C Jamir, Hon Governor of Odisha said the conference supplements Government’s intention and efforts to enhance India’s multifaceted engagement with ASEAN and the wider Asia pacific through a series of events and activities. Very recently having leaders from all 10 ASEAN as our esteemed guests at this year’s Republic Day Parade in Delhi has given great boost to our effort. The country is very clear in its approach and commitment to build on ASEAN –India Dialogue partnership that recently celebrated its 25th Anniversary. It is a proud moment that the land known for its long history of maritime activities of trade and commerce with South East Asia is taking centre stage to revive those golden days of Economic prosperity and social and cultural integration.
In the valedictory ceremony Amb Lalit Mansingh, Chairman, Kalinga International Foundation, Prof Ajarn Sulak Sivaraksha of Thailand, Guest of Honour, Hon Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, Minister of Buddha Sasana, Sri Lanka graced the occasion. The vote of thanks was given by Prof. Sonu Trivedi.
The last day the first technical session was started with continual session on regional connectivity which was chaired by Prof Baladas Ghoshal, Secretary General, Indian Ocean Studies.
Addressing the session Prof Baladas Ghoshal said Political and strategic cooperation is increasing rapidly between India and some of the South East countries. He also spoke about the importance of cultural connectivity. China’s road development project and other economic relations have created economic cooperation with many south East Asia countries. Citing an example he said, while China’s trading with Vietnam is 17 billion dollar while India’s trading with Vietnam is 7 billion dollar.
Dr Udai Bhanu Singh, Senior Research Associate, Institute of Defence Studies and & Analysis (IDSA), Prof Shankari Sundararaman, Professor, South Eastern Studies; Chairperson, Centre for Indo-Pacific Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Prof Harsh V Pant, Distinguished Fellow; and Head of Strategic Studies, ORF, Dr Swarnim Wagle, Vice Chairman, National Planning Commission, Nepal Prof Mustafizur Rahman, Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh, Dr Nguyen Xuan Trung, Centre for Indian Studies Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, Vietnam, Dr Adriana Elisabeth, Head of Centre for Political Studies, Indonesia Institute of Sciences (LIPI) were the panelists in the session.
The second session of the day was based on Tourism, Culture; Buddhism which was chaired by Amb Lalit Mansingh, Chairman, Kalinga International Foundation and overview by Hon Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, Minister of Buddha Sasana, Sri Lanka, Prof Ajarn Sulak Sivaraksha of Thailand.
In this session Amb Lalit Mansingh said that everybody knows about culture. We take culture into granted. Tourism, Culture and Buddhism are interlinked. The history of Kalinga and Sri Lanka is inseparable. Minister of Buddha Sasan gave a comparative overview on Buddhism. Minister said 80% of students are learning Buddhism now in Sri Lanka. Buddhism listed as one of the sixth religions in Indonesia. The issues about Tourism, culture, and Buddhism are not standing alone but strongly related to economy, Polity, defence, history, National, ideology etc. Hospitality is very important for tourism.
Among the panellists Amb P S Sahai, Former High Commissioner to Malaysia, Prof Benudhar Patra, Professor PG Dept of History, Govt College, Chandigarh Ms Lopamudra Maitra Bajpai, Visual Anthropologist, Mr Jatin Das, Chairman, JDCA, Bhubaneswar, Mr P Upendro Sharma, Director, Jawaharlal Nehru Manipuri Dance Academy, Imphal, Ms Siti Kaprawi, Woman Social Entrepreneur, BruneiProf Nimal De Silva, Advisor to Minister of Buddhasasana, Sri Lanka, Dr Philip Widjaja, President of Buddhist Association of Indonesia, Indonesia, Mr Somboon Chungprampree, International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB), Thailand.
The third session focused on Bilaterals: India’s Most Favoured Nations chaired by Amb Pinak Chakravarty, Former Ambassador to Thailand, High Commissioner to Bangladesh;
The panellists were Prof V Suryanarayan, Scholar, Amb (Ms) Deepa G Wadhwa, Former Ambassador to Japan, HE Mrs Chitraganee Wagiswara, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka, HE Mr. Sidharto R Suryodipuro, Ambassador of Indonesia, HE Mr Moe Kyaw Aung, Ambassador of Myanmar.
The session focussed on mainly bilateral relationship between India with its neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Japan, Myanmar and Indonesia along with other South-East countries. The speakers of the sessions emphasized on increasing air connectivity between India’s neighbouring countries, more government-to-government engagements and sharing new ideas and initiatives towards diplomatic relationships. It was discussed in the session that convergence of values, interest are the main aspects in deepening the relationships.
This three day long one of its kind international conference witnessed an impressive delegates, students and faculties from various universities, scholars, intellectuals who participated in this think tank programme.