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Dispur gears up for Asean-India car rally

Guwahati, Nov. 15: Dispur has started preparations for the flag down ceremony of the second Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)-India car rally to be held here next month.

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi today held discussions with ambassadors and high commissioners of various Asean countries to make the high-profile event a success.

The meeting was attended, among others, by Thailand ambassador Pisan Manawapat, Laos ambassador Thongphanh Syackhaphom, Vietnam ambassador Nguyen Thanh Tan, Brunei ambassador Dato Paduka Sidek Bin Ali, Malaysian high commissioner Dato Tan Seng Sung, Singapore deputy high commissioner Jonathan Tow, chief secretary N.K. Das and co-chairman of the Confederation of Indian Industry, Northeast, Abhijit Barooah.

All of them were present at the subsequent press meet, where Manawapat appeared bullish about the success of the rally following the briefing by the state government.

Manawapat also invited businessmen from Assam to participate in meetings and fairs that would be organised after the rally, which starts from Yogyakarta in Indonesia on November 25 and reaches Guwahati on December 17 through Manipur and Nagaland.

Gogoi said he would be looking forward to taking part in these conferences to promote trade, business and commerce. He also mooted the idea of opening the historic Stilwell Road and has been taking up the issue with the Centre.

Gogoi dwelt at length on the cultural affinity and geographical proximity of Assam and other northeastern states with the Asean countries.

The car rally is being organised to demonstrate the proximity of India with Asean countries while promoting and enhancing connectivity and trade.

The rally will enter Assam on December 16 morning and will be received at the Assam-Nagaland border. The next day, the government will organise the flag down ceremony at the Sarusajai stadium complex.

The foreign dignitaries later visited Pobitora wildlife sanctuary and were delighted at the progress made by the forest department in improving its infrastructure. Chief wildlife warden Suresh Chand accompanied the dignitaries.