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PBD & ASEAN meet to bring to fore links with South East Asia
PBD & ASEAN meet to bring to fore links with South East Asia avatar

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India's mega diaspora show, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, will be held in Singapore this year, with the city state all set to host a congregation of Indian diaspora in Southeast Asia on January 6-7, ahead of the Indo-ASEAN Commemorative Summit in Delhi on January 25.

The summit meet led by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj is being held as part of the commemoration of 25 years of ASEAN-India partnership and will showcase India's historical bonds with ASEAN amid China's efforts to expand its influence in the region.

The theme of the mega show – 'Ancient Route, New Journey: Diaspora in the Dynamic ASEAN-India Partnership' – aims to highlight the ancient human, maritime, cultural, commercial and religious links between India and Southeast Asia, and promote greater economic, cultural and diplomatic cooperation, officials told ET.

They said the meet will also focus on India-ASEAN partnership in the new world order and in the digital world, diaspora history, social impact contribution in India, culture, youth, education and ease of being overseas Indian in India and ASEAN. More than 2,500 participants are expected to attend the event. In addition, there will be a day-long writer's festival, cinema festival, art exhibition and photo exhibition on two millennia of India-Southeast Asia links, yoga and ayurveda conference – all showcasing talent from both India and ASEAN region.

In all, the 16 thematic sessions and various events will feature more than 100 speakers and panellists from India, Singapore and ASEAN region. A gala dinner organised on the occasion will feature cultural and culinary experience that reflect Indian influence across the region, officials said.

Singapore's deputy prime minister and coordinating minister for national security, Teo Chee Hean; minister for trade and industry, S. Iswaran; and minister for foreign affairs, Vivian Balakrishnan will participate in the meet on behalf of the hosts. Apart from Swaraj, Union minister Nitin Gadkari will be present on the occasion. Chief ministers of Assam and Andhra Pradesh are expected to attend the meet and showcase the links of the respective states with Southeast Asia.

Coinciding with diaspora show an India-Singapore/ASEAN Entrepreneurship Bridge (InSpreneur) is also being organised in the city state. The event will focus on startups, fintech, cybersecurity, disruptive technologies in manufacturing and India Stack, a project aimed at creating a platform to bring the country's population into the digital age.

In addition to panel discussions, startups will have an opportunity to pitch to investors and also interact with other startups in curated "speed dating" sessions. The event will culminate in the launch of the India-Singapore/ASEAN Startup Portal.

The event is intended to promote India's successful model of UID-enabled governance, public services, financial inclusion and payment systems in Southeast Asia/ASEAN region, officials said. Fintech is emerging as an exciting new area of collaboration, both at regulatory and promotional levels, according to officials, who said that the launch of the India-Singapore Startup Portal, anchored in Startup India, will become a channel for pursuing these objectives on a sustained basis.

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