INDIA & Indonesia Agree To Increase Trade, Improve Connectivity & Maritime Cooperation

PRIME Minister Narendra Modi arrived in the Indonesian capital on Tuesday on the first leg of his three-nation tour to East Asia to cement the political, economic and strategic interest the two friendly maritime neighbours. He is also scheduled to visit Malaysia and Singapore on the same mission. He commenced his first-ever  Indonesia visit by paying homage to martyrs of Indonesian independence struggle as he laid a wreath at the Kalibata National Heroes’ Cemetery in Jakarta. He is in Jakarta on his first-ever official visit to Indonesia, later he met President Joko Widodo on Wednesday and discussed bilateral cooperation in a broad range of areas, including maritime, trade and investment.Kalibata Heroes’ Cemetery in South Jakarta is a military cemetery in Indonesia. It was built in 1953 and opened in November 1954 when the first burial took place. External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet: PM Modi paid   homage to the martyrs of Indonesian independence by  laying wreath at the Kalibata National Heroes’ Cemetery and signing the Visitor’s Book. More than 7,000 people who are military casualties and veterans from Indonesian War of Independence are buried at the cemetery.

Later, India and Indonesia agreed to double bilateral trade to USD 50 billion by 2025, PM Narendra Modi said after comprehensive talks with President Joko Widodo.Pm Modi  exchanged views with President Widodo on potential areas of cooperation in areas like defence, maritime security, trade and economy.In a joint press statement after the talks, Modi said India and Indonesia have agreed to upgrade their ties to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. He said India and Indonesia have agreed to double efforts to take bilateral trade to USD 50 billion by 2025. As maritime neighbours, the two countries underlined the importance of stronger connectivity, particularly on sea links, to facilitate economic cooperation and people-to-people contact.Trade between the two countries in 2016 was USD 12.9 billion.  It rose 28.7 per cent to USD 18.13 billion in 2017 with Indonesia’s exports to India reaching USD 14.08 billion and its imports from India standing at USD 4.05 billion. The two countries have agreed to work intensively for the early conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and reiterated that it needs to be comprehensive, fair and balanced with benefit to all member states. The two leaders have instructed their officials to optimise the existing cooperation between ASEAN and India for establishing sustainable and mutually beneficial trade relations. They have resolved to further explore the untapped economic potentials and to remove impediments to trade and investment. PM and President agreed that there are considerable potentials for expanding trade and services in various spheres for mutual benefit. In their presence MoU between Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) was inked .Under the MOU, CII will have an office in Jakarta.President Widodo appreciated  increase in Indian investments in Indonesia and appreciated their contribution to the Indonesian economy. Prime Minister Modi also welcomed Indonesian companies’ participation through the “Make in India” initiative and invited Indonesian business to avail of the opportunities presented, the joint statement said.They also shared their views on the importance of intensifying infrastructure development in both countries and the mutual benefit of enhancing infrastructure development cooperation. They welcomed the signing of the MoU on health cooperation that would pave the way for closer collaboration in tackling common health challenges.

They agreed that there were considerable opportunities for  mutual cooperation in health and pharmaceutical sector. The two leaders further directed for the convening of a meeting in second half of 2018 comprising of health officials, drug regulators and industry representatives to develop a road map on health cooperation.They underscored the important role palm oil plays in Indonesia’s export to India and in India’s consumer preference and growing consumption. Both leaders agreed to address all issues related to obstacles to trade and investment in palm oil products and industries, the joint statement said. Both sides welcomed the MoU on cooperation in the railways sector which would promote technical cooperation, development of rail related programmes, exchange of knowledge, technology and institutional cooperation between India and Indonesia. The two leaders welcomed the establishment of direct flights by Garuda Indonesia between Bali and Mumbai starting from April 2018 as well as the flights by Batik Air and Air Asia Indonesia serving Indonesian and Indian cities. They directed the civil aviation authorities of both countries to discuss the matter of enhancing the traffic rights through the bilateral air services consultation that will take place in 2018.As maritime neighbours, the two countries underlined the importance of stronger connectivity, particularly on sea links, in order to facilitate economic cooperation and people-to-people contact. They  have decided to build connectivity between Andaman Nicobar-Aceh to unleash the economic potentials of both areas. The two countries will set up a Joint Task Force to undertake projects for port related infrastructure in and around Sabang.They recognised that access to reliable, clean and affordable energy is critical for the economic growth of both countries. Both leaders agreed to cooperate in the promotion of energy efficiency technologies, new and renewable energy technologies, with the shared aspiration to ensure energy security and to replace the use of fossil fuel, as well as meet respective climate change targets, the statement said.

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