India, Indonesia ties elevated to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership

30 May 2018, 09:25 PM
India, Indonesia ties elevated to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership
India, Indonesia ties elevated to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership

In a historic move, India and Indonesia on Wednesday pushed their bilateral ties forward to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and called for freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific region as they signed 15 agreements, including one on defence cooperation, at a high delegation-level talks on Wednesday.

"Held productive discussions with President Joko Widodo. Glad that ties between India and Indonesia are gaining strong momentum. We discussed areas of strategic cooperation, ways towards ensuring better economic ties and closer cultural relations between our nations," Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted after the talks with President Joko Widodo.

Modi arrived in Jakarta on Tuesday night, his first-ever official visit to Indonesia and was given a red carpet welcome on his arrival at the Merdeka palace, one of the presidential palaces in Indonesia, on Wednesday morning.

The meeting between the two leaders was held in the day followed by the delegation-level talks that discussed areas of strategic cooperation, ways to improve economic ties, cultural relations as well as regional and global issues of mutual interest.

After the meeting, the two issued a joint press statement, in which Modi stated India and Indonesia have agreed to elevate their ties to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. He said that India's Act East Policy and the vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for all in the Region) matches Widodo's Maritime Fulcrum Vision.

"As mutual partners and neighbours, our worries are similar. It is our duty to ensure maritime security and safety. This is also for the safety of our economic interests," Modi said.

"In the Indo-Pacific region, we, as partners, have mutual interests in each other's progress and well-being and that's why we have agreed upon mutual vision and principles for the Indo-Pacific region," he added.

In the joint statement issued, the two leaders reiterated their strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations including cross-border terrorism and terror-related incidents in Indonesia and India and affirmed that perpetrators of these heinous acts must be brought to justice.

They called upon all countries to work towards disrupting terrorist networks and their financing channels, and halting cross-border movement of terrorists from terror organisations as well as other terrorist groups threatening peace and security in respective region, the statement said.

They also shared the view on the imperative need to eradicate radicalism and reiterated the importance of promoting peaceful pluralism.

The two countries signed 15 agreements including on the cooperation in the field of defence, space, science and technology, railways and health.

Modi said that India and Indonesia will double their efforts to take bilateral trade to USD 50 billion by 2025.

Recalling the visit of ASEAN leaders in January to attend the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, Modi said India-ASEAN partnership can become a guarantee of peace not only in Indo-Pacific region but also beyond it.

Both leaders reiterated the importance of achieving a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region where sovereignty, international law, freedom of navigation and overflight, sustainable development and an open and fair trade and investment system are respected, the statement said. 

It said the two leaders welcomed the adoption of the 'Shared Vision on Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific between India and Indonesia' with a strong belief that the two sides could develop further cooperation in maritime which can be a force of immense stability in the region.

"The two leaders welcomed the growing convergence in the political, strategic, defence, security and economic fields between the two countries," it said.

They reaffirmed their commitment in the field of defence, with the signing of Defence Cooperation Agreement between two sides. The pact will further strengthen and renew the existing cooperation for the mutual benefit of the two countries and the region, the statement said.

They agreed to further enhance mutual trust through regular meetings and staff talks between their armies, navies and air forces. They also directed officials to expand mutually beneficial collaboration between their defence industries for joint production of equipment, technology transfer, technical assistance and capacity building as well as sourcing of defence equipment.

The two leaders reiterated the shared commitment to enhance liaison between the intelligence and law enforcement agencies of both countries.

Both sides 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. 

They welcomed potential cooperation in the area of peaceful use of nuclear energy and looked forward to the early renewal of an agreement on cooperation regarding the utilisation of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

They also agreed to intensify cooperation in the fields of culture, education, tourism, films and people-to-people exchanges.

Later, Modi extended advance Eid greetings to the Indonesian people, saying  "on behalf of India's 1.25 billion people, I wish you prosperity, good health and great success."

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.

(With PTI inputs)

First Published: Wednesday, May 30, 2018 05:00 PM
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