Guwahati: The Asean-India Car Rally, 2012 came to a end here today with the Assam government according a red carpet welcome to the 124 participants in 31 vehicles who had covered 8,000 km across nine countries.
The Assam government had lined up a four-hour cultural extravaganza to welcome the rally participants and other guests, including ambassadors of the Asean countries.
While the extravaganza included cultural representations from some of the northeastern states, it also included a daredevil show presented by the “Panther on Wheels” of the Assam Police and a skill demonstration programme by the “Veeranganas” — the first-ever all women police battalion of Assam.
Union Minister of State for Industry and Commerce D. Purandeswari was present at the flag-down ceremony at the Sarusojai stadium and termed the journey, which was first kicked-off from Yogyakarta in Indonesia on Nov 26, as a journey of new discovery, partnership and bonding.
“India has been seeking great cooperation from the Asean neighbours ever since it initiated Look East policy in 1991. India became a sectoral dialogue partner of Asean in 1992, which was upgraded to full dialogue partnership in 1996. The country had signed Asean-India dialogue partnership in 2001,” she said
The rally was also organized to commemorate the 20 years of Asean-India relationship as well as to commemorate the 10 years of Asean-India Dialogue Partnership, she said.
“I hope the rally this year will help bringing the Asean economy closer to us,” said Purandeshwari, who also added that India had also been working on improved road connectivity between it and Asean countries.
“The rally symbolizes land connectivity between Asean and India and it will not only boost people-to-people contact between India and Asean,” she said adding that the successful completion of the Rally will not only open up new vista of opportunities before India and its Asean neighbours but also help promoting long term trade and commerce between the two.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who also spoke on the occasion, hoped that the rally will promote goodwill and cooperation besides trade and commerce between Asean and India, particularly for the northeastern states of India.
Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) president Adi Godrej, who was also present on the occasion, said CII had already identified key areas of cooperation between India and Asean, which includes energy, tourism and education sectors.
He, however, stressed that connectivity is the key to all this aspirations between India and Asean.