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Modi fetes ASEAN leaders at India's Republic Day celebration

China fears have the prime minister angling for closer ties with Southeast Asia

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, right, leads ASEAN heads of state and others to a reception following the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on Jan. 26.   © Reuters

NEW DELHI For the first time in its history, India's Republic Day parade had not one but 10 guests of honor: the leaders of all members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The expanded guest list for the Jan. 26 event is a reflection of the bloc's increasing importance to New Delhi amid China's growing influence.

The historic participation of all ASEAN leaders came a day after a commemorative summit held to mark 25 years of India-ASEAN partnership.

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