India-Indonesia Relations saw a new page with President of Indonesia Mr. Joko Widodo’s maiden visit to India. Delegation level talks were held with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Both countries have established several bilateral agreements in strengthening several strategic, maritime and defence agreements in the past. While some agreements were signed between the two nations, what remains crucial was the focus on jointly combating terrorism. Indonesia is an important pillar to India’s Act East approach.
India-Indonesia | Highlights of the Visit
- Two MoUs were signed on cooperation in the areas of youth and sports and on standardization.
- A joint communique was also signed on voluntary international cooperation to combat illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing and to promote sustainable fisheries governance.
- The two sides also agreed to boost trade and investment in the areas of oil and gas, renewable energy, IT etc.
- India-Indonesia Strategic Partnership is based on shared commitment to values of democracy, pluralism and diversity and having economies with strong complementarities and challenges.
- As the largest ASEAN state accounting for over 37% of population and over 33% of combined GDP, and as a fellow member of G-20, Indonesia is of particular interest to India.
- The vast consumer market, youthful and skilled human resources and expertise in the field of information technology of India coupled with Indonesia’s natural resources, youthful population and strategic location would provide a platform for enhanced economic engagement.
- India is the largest buyer of crude palm oil from Indonesia and also imports coal, minerals, rubber, pulp and hydrocarbon in significant quantities. India exports refined petroleum products, maize, commercial vehicles, telecommunication equipment, oil seeds to Indonesia. There is a need to balance our bilateral trade as India’s import from Indonesia was US$ 15 billion against an export of US$ 4 billion in 2014-15.
- India has active cultural centres in Jakarta and Bali. From time to time, the Indian Government has also offered training under ITEC and TCS of Colombo Plan and Indonesia is a major recipient of the scholarships.
- There is a considerable potential for expanding trade in the areas of automotive components, automobiles, engineering products, IT, pharmaceuticals, bio-technology and healthcare sectors. Given their strategic significance, Infrastructure development and energy, both traditional and renewable, are key areas for enhancing the bilateral cooperation.
- This cooperation should be continued through technical, human resource development, capacity building and contributing to the development of Indonesian capacities both physical and human.
- As one of the most important countries of the Asia-Pacific rim- Indonesia is in an advantageous position to connect a vibrant South Asia to the Pacific region. It is important for India to combat non-traditional threats such as piracy, smuggling, transnational crimes and drug-trafficking.
India-Indonesia | Conclusion
India and Indonesia are friendly maritime nations with deep civilizational links between the people of the two countries, including the common heritage of Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. They underscored the importance of pluralism, democracy, and rule of law as key values to achieve peaceful co-existence. They have welcomed the convergence in the political, economic and strategic interests of the two countries that provides an enduring basis for a long-term strategic partnership.