In his first bilateral visit to an ASEAN country, Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar on Thursday met his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi and they agreed to step up cooperation in connecting Aceh and Andaman and Nicobar islands to promote trade, tourism and people-to-people contacts.
Jaishankar is on a September 4-6 visit to Indonesia.
“FM Jaishankar and I agreed to step up cooperation in Aceh – Andaman/Nicobar connectivity. Indonesia stands ready to participate in its infrastructure and connectivity development,” Marsudi said in a tweet.
India and Indonesia last year agreed to set up a special task force to enhance connectivity between the strategic Andaman and Nicobar Islands and provinces in Sumatra Island. Aceh province is located on the northern end of Sumatra.
During the parleys that included global and regional issues of mutual interest, the two sides also agreed to strengthen Indo-Pacific cooperation.
The two countries also committed to reach a target of USD 50 billion bilateral trade by 2025, including through broader market access.
During the talks, Indonesia also requested India for reduction of tariff for its palm oil.
“FM Jaishankar and I agreed that the long and strong bond between the two countries should be reflected in the current bilateral relations,” Marsudi said in her tweet.
Highlighting the historical linkages between the two countries, Jaishankar expressed hope of a modern partnership between India and Indonesia through fashion.
“Pleasure to meet my Indonesian counterpart @Menlu_RI. My 1st bilat’l visit as EAM to ASEAN. Drawing on historical linkages to fashion a modern partnership. Agreed to address common challenges & explore shared opportunities. Our talks highlighted mutual support for territorial integrity,” Jaishankar tweeted.
Jaishankar also met Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Gen(Retd) Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan and discussed closer cooperation between Andaman and Nicobar and Aceh.
“Glad to meet with Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Gen(Retd) Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan. Discussed closer cooperation between Andaman & Nicobar and Aceh. Look forward to early meeting of the Joint Task Force,” Jaishankar said in his tweet.
During his meeting with Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Jaishankar discussed cooperation in counter terrorism and defence.
“A detailed exchange with Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal & Security Affairs @PolhukamRI Gen (Retd) H. Wiranto. Discussed cooperation in defence, security and counterterrorism. Shared resolve to protect territorial integrity,” he tweeted.
Jaishankar will also hold bilateral meetings with other senior ministers of Indonesia.
The visit reflects the high priority India attaches to its bilateral relationship with Indonesia, with which “we share a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and a Shared Vision on Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific,” a press release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs said ahead of his visit to Indonesia.