In yet another out of the box foreign policy initiative of the Modi government , all leaders of ASEAN have been invited as chief guests for India’s 69th Republic day. This also marks the 25th anniversary of India ASEAN dialogue. Therefore it is fitting that the leaders of ASEAN are invited to mark the occasion. Here is a profile of the 10 ASEAN leaders who will witness the Republic day parade today.
Brunei : His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah
The Sultan of Brunei, His Majesty Haji Hassanal is one of the richest monarchs of the world according to Forbes. He has the biggest private residence in the world. His palace has 1788 rooms. Former US President Obama famously remarked in a private meeting about how he had flown his own Boeing 747 aircraft while travelling to USA (in 2013). “I think he’s probably the only head of state in the world who flies a 747 himself”, said Obama. His Majesty is the Prime Minister, Defence Minister and Finance Minister of Brunei.
Cambodia : Prime Minister Hun Sen
PM Hun Sen is one of the world’s longest serving prime ministers. He has been leading many coalitions since 1985. PM Sen was appointed to the office again in 2013. The opposition has also accused him of fraud in elections. Hun Sen has been a member of the Communist Party since late 1960s. He had grabbed power from his co-prime minister in 1997. Currently he is the leader of Cambodian People’s Party.
Indonesia : President Joko Widodo
President Joko Widodo was elected in July 2014. He is from a humble background. His father was a wood seller. He had served as the Governor of Jakarta before taking over as the President of Indonesia in a closely fought contest. He was the candidate of PDI-P party. His election seems to have marked a new beginning in Indonesia.
Laos : Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith
PM Sisoulith has held his position since 2016. Prior to his Prime Ministership, he was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. He is also a polit bureau member of the Laos People Revolutionary Party. Thongloun Sisoulith has a PhD in philosophy and master’s degree in linguistics and literature.
Malaysia : The Honourable Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak
PM Abdul Razak started his political career as the youngest Member of Parliament in 1976. He has held many ministerial positions including deputy prime minister-ship before taking up the top post of the country. He also holds a degree in Industrial Economics from Nottingham University. PM Razak has held the position of PM since 2009.
Myanmar : State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung San Syu Chi is the winner of Nobel Prize for peace. She has been overseeing the transition of her country from miliary rule to democracy. Though she doesn’t hold the top executive posts of Myanmar, she has considerable influence over the government of Myanmar. She had obtained her education Lady Shri Ram College and Oxford. She is the youngest daughter of Aung San (Father of modern Myanmar) and leader of NLD (National League for Democracy).
Phillipines : President Rodrigo Roa Duterte
President Rodrigo Duterte is the oldest person to take up the Presidentship of Phillipines. He is a lawyer turned politician. President Duterte is the longest serving mayor of Phillipines . He was mayor of Davao city in the years 1988 , 2001-2010 and 2013-2016. Duterte holds degrees in political science and law.
Singapore : Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Lee Hsien Loong has been the Prime Minister of Singapore since January 2016. He is the eldest son of Singapore’s much respected leader Lee Kuan Yew. Lee has studied in prestigious universities like Cambridge and Harvard. He won his first election to Parliament in 1984. Currently he leads the People’s Action Party. He has served as finance minister, trade minister and deputy prime minister before taking his country’s leadership.
Thailand : Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha
PM Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha is the military leader turned civilian prime minister of Thailand. He has been holding the post since August 2014. Though was elected by the legislature, reports suggested that the army has filled the country’s legislature with army loyalists. Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has a bachelor of science degree from Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy.
Vietnam :Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc
PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc has been a member of the Vietnamese communist party since 1983. He had lost his mother and sister during the Vietnamese war. He has held several important positions including deputy prime minster before taking up the post of Prime minister. He has studied administrative management at Vietnam National Administrative Academy.