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International relations

India's Modi courts ASEAN leaders to counter China's Belt and Road

Prime minister hosts summit of all 10 regional heads at Republic Day celebrations

Indian soldiers take part in a laughter yoga session during their rehearsal for the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on Jan. 11.   © Reuters

NEW DELHI -- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations here Thursday, seeking to strengthen trade and other bonds amid the growing influence of regional rival China.

This will mark the first time all 10 ASEAN leaders attend the country's annual Republic Day celebrations, during which Modi is expected to pitch his new initiative to improve ties with the Southeast Asian bloc.

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