Monday, October 14, 2013


     Jakarta, Oct 14, 2013 (Antara) - Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent visit to Indonesia spurred the two countries to commit to expanding their strategic partnership in various fields.
        The two nations have acknowledged the importance of strengthening bilateral cooperation not only in relation to the economy but also in fields such as transportation, tourism, information technology, creative economy, defense, security, counter-terrorism, natural disaster handling, anti-corruption, money laundering, drug and human trafficking, cyber crime, and space technology.  

    In Jakarta, the Indian prime minister and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono witnessed the signing of six Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) to establish partnerships in health, disaster management, fighting corruption, combating trafficking in narcotics, and training public officials.

        With the ratification of the Extradition Treaty and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in Criminal Matters, the two sides decided to explore cooperation on the issue of transferring individuals who have been sentenced in either country.
          Following a bilateral meeting at the Merdeka Presidential Palace on Oct. 11, 2013, President Yudhoyono stated at a joint press conference with the Indian prime minister that the two countries needed to form a close partnership.
         Indonesia and India, Asia's largest democracies, had established their strategic partnership during Yudhoyono's visit to India in 2005, aiming to make Jakarta-Delhi one of the most successful bilateral relationships in the region.
         President Yudhoyono visited India again in January 2011 in an attempt to boost this strategic partnership to ensure even higher levels of cooperation.
          "We are aware of the common challenges that the two countries are facing, and therefore, a partnership could be the way (forward)," said Yudhoyono after receiving Manmohan Singh recently.
         The Indian leader said Indonesia is one of its major partners, particularly with regard to India's "Look East Policy."
   "Our bilateral relations have a lot of potential and are developing very fast. As emerging economies, we have many things in common in various forums," he remarked.
         Singh also said the two countries need to increase connectivity and economic investment and should seek opportunities for cooperation in various fields.
        India, he said, also supports Indonesia's idea of encouraging cooperation in the food and energy fields to ensure the availability of mutual food and energy supplies in the future.
         The two leaders decided to take steps to provide mutual access facilitation for agricultural products and fish and fishery products.
         Both India and Indonesia, which are among the most populous countries in the world, have emphasized the need to cooperate in ensuring the availability of adequate food stocks for their people.
         India's population, the second largest in the world, exceeds 1.2 billion, and Indonesia's population exceeds 240 million, making it the world's fourth most populated nation after China, India, and the United States.
        According to India's External Affairs Ministry officials, both leaders acknowledged that the two countries could not afford imports and believed that food security should be met bilaterally.
        India's media reported that both countries would consider possibilities for the common stockpiling of food reserves. Indonesia has also expressed interest in learning more about India's food security law.
        In the area of security and defense cooperation, the two nations decided to explore collaboration over the production and sale of defence equipment and security cooperation. They also agreed to renew the Agreement on Cooperation regarding the Utilisation of Nuclear Energy for Peaceful Purposes.
        To boost their bilateral economic and investment ties ahead of the prime minister's visit, India had sent an 18-member business delegation to attend a two-day India-Indonesia CEO forum in Jakarta.
        Trade between the two countries has grown almost fivefold since 2005 to $20 billion in 2012-13. It is expected to reach $25 billion by 2015.
        "We are positive that the target of $25 billion by 2015 will be achieved," the Indian Ambassador to Indonesia Gurjit Singh told the press recently.
        Foreign direct investment (FDI) from Indian firms totaled $78.1 million across 58 projects last year, dropping to $57.1 million in 59 projects from January to June this year.
        To continually boost cooperation in various fields, the two leaders have agreed to host annual summits, including on the sidelines of multilateral events, and to hold the Joint Commission Meeting annually instead of every alternate year.
        The Indian prime minister, accompanied by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, visited Jakarta after attending the 11th India-ASEAN Summit and 8th East Asia Summit in Brunei Darussalam on Oct. 10, 2013.
        "Our engagement with the ASEAN and its member countries is the cornerstone of our 'Look East' policy and has evolved into a strong, comprehensive and multi-faceted partnership in recent years," the prime minister said in his departure statement, as quoted by The Times of India recently.
        The 11th ASEAN-India Summit was chaired by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam and was attended by all the heads of state/government of the ASEAN member states, including President Yudhoyono and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
          The areas of cooperation between India and the ASEAN include science and technology, agriculture, the environment, human resources, space, energy, telecom, infrastructure, tourism, culture, health and pharmaceuticals.
         The ASEAN leaders welcomed India's "Look East Policy" within the framework of the ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership, particularly with regard to India's continued support of the ASEAN Community Building process in covering the three pillars of the ASEAN Community, enhancing connectivity, and strengthening ASEAN Centrality.
        They also welcomed India's commitment to supporting the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) and connectivity in the wider East Asia region.
        An ASEAN-India Free Trade Area (FTA) agreement on goods is already in place, and it has significantly helped expand trade within this regional block so far.
        ASEAN-India trade currently stands at US$76 billion, which is targeted to be increased to US$100 billion by 2015 and to US$200 billion by 2022. ***1***
(f001/INE   )

(T.F001/A/BESSR/F. Assegaf) 14-10-2013 15:04:34

No comments:

Post a Comment