Jakarta [Indonesia]: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said that with the opening of the CII representative office in Jakarta, Indian industries will find an ideal platform to proactively engage with their Indonesian counterparts, and the bilateral trade target of USD 50 billion by 2025 will be set on the right track.
"Indonesia is India's largest trade partner in goods in the ASEAN region. Our bilateral trade crossed USD 20 billion last year. There is an immediate urgency to address the trade deficit and look at means for achieving a more balanced trade basket through greater and diversified exports. We aim to achieve it by expanding bilateral trade," he said at the inaugural ceremony of the CII office.
"Hence, achieving the target of USD 50 billion in bilateral trade by 2025 has to be an important endeavour. We do hope that with the opening of the CII office in Jakarta, the bilateral trade target will be set on the right track," Jaishankar added. The minister said it is critical for large developing countries like India and Indonesia to join hands and forge collaborative partnerships so that both countries are sufficiently prepared to deal with the global economic challenges.
Jaishankar said that there is a sizable presence of Indian industries across the island nation spread over sectors like energy, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, textiles, banking and IT services. "I do hope that with the commencement of operations of the representative office of CII Jakarta, Indian industry will find an ideal platform to engage with their Indonesian counterparts on a more proactive and sustained basis. Likewise, Indonesian entrepreneurs could also use CII to get more information and as a channel for creating business partnerships," he remarked.
At the same function, Jaishankar also unveiled a commemorative stamp to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year. "As two ancient civilisations bound by shared cultural chords, both India and Indonesia are founded on the fundamental edifice of 'Unity in Diversity' or 'Bhinneka Tunggal Ika', as you call it in Bahasa," he said. The minister said that the life and times of Mahatma Gandhi echoed the same sentiments of celebrating the diversity of human spirit without differentiation of any kind.
Jaishankar arrived in Indonesia on Wednesday on a three-day visit to the country. This was the External Affairs Minister's first bilateral visit in the ASEAN region and maiden visit to the island country after taking office. During the visit, Jaishankar had detailed discussions with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi across a broad spectrum of bilateral relations pursuant to the establishment of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2018.
Both leaders discussed steps to deepen bilateral cooperation in the maritime domain, including tangible steps to deepen connectivity between Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India and Aceh Province of Indonesia, a statement from the Indian embassy in Jakarta said. "In this regard, both leaders welcomed the adoption of the Terms of Reference of the Joint Task Force meeting on Andaman-Aceh connectivity and looked forward to the holding of the First meeting of the JTF in Indonesia at an early date within this year," the statement said.
The External Affairs Minister extended an invitation to his Indonesian counterpart to visit India for the Joint Commission Meeting later this year. During the visit, Jaishankar also held meetings with senior leadership of the Indonesian Government, including with General (Retd.) Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, and General (Retd) Wiranto, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs.
Jaishankar also called on Indonesia's Vice President Jusuf Kalla and discussed steps to further scale up the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between India and Indonesia, the statement said. He extended an invitation to the Indonesian leader for joining the launch of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) initiative at the UN General Assembly.
The minister also called on former President and Chairwoman of Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) Megawati Sukarnoputri and recalled her strong association with India. Jaishankar extended an invitation to her to visit India at the earliest.