Indonesia, India agree to strengthen bilateral ties

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia and India's foreign affairs ministers agreed to strengthen bilateral ties during a meeting held in Jakarta on Friday.

Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi, welcomed her Indian counterpart, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and a delegation at the 5th Meeting of Joint Commission between Indonesia and India.

Both ministers agreed to strengthen and deepen the strategic partnership between the two countries after the conclusion of the meeting.

On bilateral cooperation in the area of politics, defense and security cooperation, Marsudi and Swaraj discussed ways to broaden cooperation in such sectors, including through expediting a defense cooperation agreement, implementing a joint effort in the defense industry, and strengthening maritime security cooperation that includes cooperation in combating piracy and illegal fishing.

"We have also agreed to strengthen cooperation in countering terrorism, including through de-radicalization and development of legal framework in combating trans-national organized crime including cyber threat," Marsudi noted.

The two ministers also conveyed their commitment in expediting negotiations on the Exclusive Economic Zone between the two countries.

In economic cooperation, India is the largest market for Indonesian crude palm oil, the trade value for which in 2016 reached US$2.97 billion.

Meanwhile, the overall trade value between Indonesia and India reached US$14.846 billion in January-October 2017.

The two countries have set a target to reach US$50 billion in trade in 2025.

Intensifying engagement in promoting trade facilitation and exploring the enormous potential in trade through greater market access will be their strategy.

Better investment facilitation in various sectors such as pharmacy, mining and connectivity, as well as simplifying the process in obtaining work permits for skilled workers was the focus of discussions.

Indonesia and India also discussed ways to intensify people to people contact through cultural and festival events commemorating the 70th anniversary of India-Indonesia relations in 2019.

A need to expand aviation links between the two countries was also discussed.

"We both shared concerns that it is not natural for two large neighbors to not have direct air connection," Swaraj noted.

Both ministers also discussed regional and global issues and how to work together to better contribute toward the region's ecosystem of peace, stability, and prosperity.

The key was to strengthen regional architecture through dialogs and proactive engagement in a number of regional fora such as the ASEAN-India and IORA.

"Indeed our meeting today clearly demonstrated the strong commitment of India and Indonesia, two of Asias largest nations and democracies, to work together to bring greater benefit to our people, to the region and to the world," Marsudi said.

Meanwhile, Swaraj expressed her appreciation that President Joko Widodo had accepted Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi's invitation to join the ASEAN Special Commemorative Summit and as a guest of honor at India's Republic Day celebrations, along with other ASEAN heads of states and governments in New Delhi on 25-26 January.

Source: ANTARA News

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