Ever since the ‘Look East Policy of 1991’, the partnership between India and Association of South East Asian Countries (ASEAN) had been developing at a fast pace. Comprising of countries such as Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, this ‘Look East Policy’ has seen a number of events being held in the past.
To bring these countries on a common platform, India is a sectoral partner of ASEAN since 1992 and became a full dialogue partner in 1996. The first ASEAN Car Rally was organized in 2004 to augment relations and to create a feeling of togetherness and also brought into focus the existence of a land route connectivity to facilitate free and flowing trade facilities and investment opportunities.
The rally also brought into focus a more meaningful relationship between the ASEAN countries. The forthcoming Car Rally will be an expedition of 28 Mahindra and Mahindra XUV 500s which will travel through 8 out of the 10 ASEAN countries and India. The vehicles will travel for a total of 22 days and will cover 8,000 kms. It is a CII initiative with Mahindra being the official vehicle sponsor.
124 participants from 11 countries will travel together on a predetermined route which were flagged off from Jakarta, Indonesia on November 26th and will reach India on December 15th at the Moreh border. It will then head towards Imphal, halt for the night in Kohima and will end on December 17th at Guwahati with a flag down ceremony and will culminate with a final ceremonial flag down on December 29th in Delhi in the presence of the Prime Minister of India along with Heads of State of 10 ASEAN countries.
Bikoy Kumar, Sr General Manager, Mahindra and Mahindra, who is participating in this ASEAN India Car Rally, updated his facebook status as, “The Jet Airways check-in girl asked for our return tickets. There is ‘none’ we told her and also added that ‘we are driving back to India from Singapore’. To cut a long one short, we barely made it to the Airbus A330 as it took close to an hour to convince them that IT IS POSSIBLE. This trip is certainly going to be full of stories!”
Mahindra XUV500 at ASEAN-India Car Rally, 2012