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ASEAN car rally to come to India

An ASEAN-India car rally that will kick off in November in Indonesia is expected to come to India during the special ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit scheduled in New Delhi in the third week of December. The rally will be held to celebrate the 20th year anniversary of the ASEAN-India relationship.

Senior Union government officials and representatives from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Auto Car India have already chalked out the possible road routes for the rally.


ASEAN heads of missions in New Delhi with Renu Pall, joint secretary (MER-ASEAN), ministry of external affairs (centre) and Chandrajit Banerjee, director general, CII (fifth from left) PIC COURTESY/CII

Confirming the move, a senior official from CII, said, “A team will leave for the physical mapping of the motorable road route and understand the logistics of fuelling, lodging and boarding facility en route the 8,000 km-long stretch that will be covered in the three-week-long rally. Also, dialogue with various government agencies, including the ministry of defence and home, is under process to finalise various approval plans and security issues.”

The first car rally was held in 2004. It was organised by the CII, with the support of the Indian government. The rally was held across all countries of peninsular South East Asia, crossing a distance of over 8,000 km, starting in Guwahati, Assam, and ending in Singapore, the officer said.

However this year, symbolically, the rally will start from Yogyakarta, Indonesia, on November 25, but as there is no road link between Indonesia and Singapore, the actual road rally would start on November 28 from Singapore and cover ASEAN countries Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar and enter India from the Moreh border in Imphalin Manipur, come to Kohima and Bimapur in Nagaland and then reach Guwahati, Assam, where the flagdown march will take place on December 16. Some cars will then proceed to Delhi, where the Prime Minister, along with 10 heads of states of ASEAN countries, will flagdown the entire rally.

When asked where in Delhi the flag down would happen, the official said, “We are still finalising the location, India Gate is definitely in our mind, but the security agencies need to give their final consent.”

CII officials added that they are in talks with a leading Indian automobile company who has agreed to supply 30 SUVs of the latest model for the rally. All the cars will be shipped from India to Singapore. Each country will send two teams of four each and two cars each will be handed over to the participants in Singapore.

“India shares a common culture and tradition with the 10 ASEAN countries and we are delighted to be a part of the exercise. This rally is also very symbolic, as the CII was a part of the first rally in 2004 and we look forward to promoting culture, trade, tourism and investment amongst ASEAN citizens,” said Neerja Bhatia, director, CII.

When asked about who can participate in the rally, Bhatia said, “Every ASEAN country will decide whom to send and the team may include ordinary people, government servants, media, rally enthusiasts and so on.”

Hormazd Sorabjee, editor, Autocar India, said, “We hadworked on done similar logistics for the SAARC rally in 2007 with CII and, this time, we are looking for a great motoring trip. It will be a fantastic experience as we meet different cultures and the beauty is that ASEAN countries are connected to India by road, which opens up possibilities of future trade, too.”

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