India and Indonesia on May 30, 2018 issued a joint statement on "Establishing Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’, elevating their existing bilateral ties.
The move followed a bilateral summit between Indonesian President Joko Widodo and visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. The two leaders held extensive talks on bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest and provided strategic directions that would further enhance the solid and expanding relations between the two countries.
To enhance the strategic partnership between the two nations, the leaders agreed to hold annual summit meetings, including on the margins of multilateral events. The two sides also signed 15 agreements for cooperation in various areas including defence, trade and economy.
• India and Indonesia have agreed to double their efforts to take bilateral trade to USD 50 billion by 2025.
• According to Indonesia's Central Statistics Agency (BPS), trade between the two countries in 2016 was USD 12.9 billion.
• It rose by 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 leaders reaffirmed that their countries, as strategic partners and maritime neighbours, will work to further strengthen and broaden the already robust defence cooperation.
• The leaders reaffirmed their commitment in the field of defence with the signing of the Defence Cooperation Agreement between the two countries.
• They also agreed to further enhance mutual trust through regular meetings and staff talks between armies, navies and air forces of the two countries.
• They further took note on the progress made through the joint production of military equipment and identified cooperation in defence industry and technology as areas of great potential.
The two sides agreed to work intensively for the early conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and reiterated that it needs to be comprehensive, fair and balanced with benefit to all member states.
It is a proposed free trade agreement between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) regional bloc and the six states with which ASEAN has existing free trade agreements - Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.
The ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
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 such acts should be punished.
• 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.
• The two leaders welcomed the plan to build connectivity between Andaman Nicobar in India and Aceh in Indonesia to unleash the economic potentials of both areas.
• The two sides also looked forward to the speedy conclusion of the ASEAN-India Maritime Transport Cooperation Agreement.
• In the view of the growing geostrategic importance of the Indo-Pacific region, the two sides issued a separate statement on "Shared Vision of Indo-Indonesia Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific".
• According to the statement, both sides recognised that with a coastline of 7,500 km, with more than 1,380 islands and more than two million sq km of Exclusive Economic Zone, India occupies a central position in the Indo-Pacific, while Indonesia as the largest archipelagic state in the world, with a coastline of 108,000 km, with 17,504 islands and a total maritime area of 6,400,000 sq km including Exclusive Economic Zone, is a fulcrum that connects the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
• The statement read that the two oceans represent a combined maritime region that is important for global maritime trade and commerce.
• It also called for adhering to the rights and obligations under the international law including the Charter of the United Nations, the UN Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS) and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC).
• Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Indonesia on May 29, 2018 on the first leg of his five-day three-nation tour of Southeast Asia.
• This is Modi’s first visit to Indonesia as Prime Minister.
• The other two nations that Modi will be visiting include Malaysia and Singapore.