Current Affairs 2017 (July)

India plans to invite Leaders of ASEAN countries for 2018 Republic Day celebrations

India has planned to invite the ten leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as Chief Guests for 2018 Republic Day celebrations. This Plan has come at a time when India is engaged in a stand-off with China in the Sikkim sector.

If invited Republic Day 2018 would be the first Republic Day event that will have so many leaders as the chief guests. In the recent past, world leaders like former US President Barack Obama, former French President François Hollande and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan have been invited as the chief guests for the Republic Day celebrations.


India’s commitment to strengthen its ties with ASEAN countries is reflected by its ‘Look East Policy’ becoming ‘Act East Policy.’ At the India-ASEAN Summit held in Myanmar in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared that India’s ‘Look East Policy’ has become ‘Act East Policy.’

With respect to the focus areas of cooperation with ASEAN, the External Affairs Minister described them in terms of three Cs-Commerce, Connectivity and Culture.

This year also marks the 25 years of dialogue partnership between India and ASEAN, 15 years of summit-level interaction, and five years of strategic partnership. India and ASEAN had upgraded their relationship to a strategic partnership in 2012.


ASEAN consists of 10-member countries- Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The founder members of the grouping were Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines and Thailand. Later the group was expanded by adding the remaining members with Cambodia becoming the last entrant added to the group in 1999.

ASEAN came into existence on August 8, 1967, after ASEAN declaration (also known as Bangkok Declaration). It is a regional organisation that aims to promote intergovernmental cooperation and economic integration amongst its members.


Fact Box: “JIGYASA” – Student-Scientist connect Programme

Jigyasa, a student- scientist connect programme has been launched by the government in New Delhi. The programme would be implemented by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in collaboration with Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS).

Salient Facts

The main focus of the programme is to connect school students and scientists as well as to extend student’s classroom learning to a very well-planned research laboratory based learning.

The programme has been inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a new India and “Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR)” of scientific community and institutions.

The JIGYASA programme is expected to inculcate the culture of inquisitiveness and scientific temper on the minds of children and school teachers.

The programme will connect 1151 Kendriya Vidyalayas with 38 National Laboratories of CSIR and will target 100,000 students and 1000 teachers every year. Under this programme, the CSIR would launch a talent hunt among the visiting students for furthering the cause of scientific development.

“JIGYASA” programme would be one of the major initiatives of the CSIR at the national level during its Platinum Jubilee Celebration Year.

The model of engagement under JIGYASA between the CSIR and the KVS will include Student Residential Programmes; Scientists as Teachers and Teachers as Scientists; Lab-specific activities / Onsite Experiments; Visits of Scientists to Schools/Outreach Programmes; Science and Maths Clubs; Popular Lecture Series/ demonstration programme at Schools; Student Apprenticeship Programmes; Science Exhibitions; Projects of National Children’s Science Congress; Teacher Workshops; and Tinkering Laboratories.