As New Delhi prepares to host a commemorative summit this week to mark the 25th anniversary of the India-Asean Dialogue Partnership, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday said that India is for institutionalising its cultural ties with Southeast Asia."The cultural bonds between India and Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries are centuries old and the onus is on us to propagate this special relationship amongst the youth in both the regions," Sushma Swaraj said while addressing the Asean-India Youth Awards ceremony here."From the Indian government's side, we would like to institutionalise the relationship through a permanent mechanism so that the youth of Asean countries can partake of our cultural and religious ethos and become true ambassadors of India in their countries," she said.Stating that Buddhism and Ramayana connect India and Southeast Asia, Sushma Swaraj said that traces of Indian culture can be found in many places in that region."Our Dialogue Partnership may be only 25 years old, but our friendship has been for ages," she said
Referring to a series of events that were held in the year gone by to mark the silver jubilee of the Dialogue Partnership, she said that a number of these focused on the youth.She urged the youth of India to visit Southeast Asian nations so that they can learn of Indian cultural influence there.Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Rajyavardhan Rathod said on the occasion that the entire humanity shares the same joys, pains and pleasures in the world."If we are to sow the seeds for making the world a friendly place to live in, we must place the youth in the forefront of our agenda," Rathod said.In Tuesday's ceremony, 20 youth - 10 each from India and the Asean nations - were awarded for their achievements in 10 categories: young leader of the year, young woman achiever, the most innovative business idea and young achivers in the fields of finance, tourism, retail and e-commerce, art and culture, family business, sports and corporate social responsibility.
The ceremony was part of a series of events being held here in the run-up to the commemorative summit.On Thursday, New Delhi will host commemorative summit which will be attended by the heads of state and government of all 10 Asean nations and on Friday, these visiting dignitaries will attend this year's Republic Day celebrations collectively as guests of honour.The Asean comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.