Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Donald Trump, Chinese premier Li Keqiang, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and several other leaders from ASEAN's partner countries attended the opening ceremony at the highly fortified Cultural Centre in this bustling metropolis.
The Ramayana performance was presented by ballet company Rama Hari and it drew loud applause from the audience.
The Ramayana in the Philippines is called 'Maharadia Lawana' which means king Ravana. The Philippines' famous dance 'Singkil' is based on the Ramayana.
"Partnering for change, engaging the world. PM attends the opening ceremony of the 31st @ASEAN Summit; an important pillar of India's #ActEast policy," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted. PM Modi also tweeted about the "historical bonds and shared heritage" between India and South-East Asia.
You would be happy to know that the @ASEAN opening ceremony included excerpts from the musical Rama Hari, based on the Ramayana. Various parts of the Ramayana were beautifully highlighted in the Rama Hari. This shows our deep historical bonds and shared heritage. pic.twitter.com/hLNQnSmmAs- Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 13, 2017
The ASEAN leaders later began deliberations at the summit which is taking place under the shadow of China's growing military build-up in the resource-rich South China Sea.
China claims sovereignty over all of the South China Sea, a huge source of hydrocarbons. However, several ASEAN member countries including Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei have counter claims.
The ASEAN have been pushing for a legally binding code of conduct for all stakeholders in the South China sea but Beijing has been opposing such a framework asserting that it will resolve the dispute with respective countries under bilateral mechanism.
PM Modi will attend the ASEAN-India summit tomorrow.