India and Indonesia on Monday agreed to strengthen defence and security ties with a major focus on maritime space and deepen cooperation for effectively combating terror, its financing, money laundering and arms smuggling.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Widodo called upon all countries to implement the UNSC Resolution 1267 and other relevant resolutions designating terrorist entities, in an apparent reference to China blocking India’s move to get Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar designated as a global terrorist by the UN.
The two leaders also asked all countries to work towards eliminating terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and their financing channels, besides stopping cross-border terrorism, seen as a message to Pakistan.
A joint statement issued after the talks said the two leaders condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations in the strongest terms, emphasising “zero tolerance” for acts of terror.
On other imposrtant issue of the South China Sea disputes, where Indonesia is also a party, the two leaders called for resolving the issue through peaceful means and in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law including the UNCLOS (UN Convention on the Law of the Sea).
Besides the issue of terrorism and security, both India and Indonesia also decided to boost bilateral trade and investment, particularly in areas like oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, IT and skill development. Emphasising on the need to improve connectivity and encourage people-to-people contact, the two leaders also welcome Garuda Indonesia’s decision to commence direct flights from Jakarta to Mumbai.
“As the world’s most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia stands for democracy, diversity, pluralism, and social harmony. These are also our values. Our nations and societies have nurtured strong bonds of commerce and culture throughout our history,” PM Modi said.
The Prime Minister also said both sides agreed that early implementation of India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement in Services and Investment, and finalisation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership would be important steps to further boost trade ties.
“To sustain the momentum of our partnership, President Widodo and I have directed for an early meeting of the existing ministerial-level mechanisms to carry forward the bilateral cooperation agenda,” he said.
The Indonesian President, on his first visit here, said there were detailed talks on ways to strengthen economic partnership, adding Indonesia wants to diversify exports to India.
A separate Joint Statement on Maritime Cooperation, outlining the agenda of bilateral engagement in the area was also issued.
Regarding defence and security ties, the two leaders gave a directive for early convening of the Defence Ministers’ Dialogue and the Joint Defence Cooperation Committee (JDCC) meetings to review and upgrade the existing ‘Agreement on Cooperative Activities in the Fields of Defence’ to a substantive bilateral Defence Cooperation Agreement.
(With inputs from the PTI)