Swaraj discusses ways to strengthen ties with Indonesia
Jakarta: India and Indonesia, as close maritime neighbours, are "natural partners" in peace and prosperity, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Friday as she held talks with her Indonesian counterpart here.
"We are two major countries in the Indo-Pacific region. This region is among the most dynamic regions in the world. We agreed to develop synergetic relationship to harness the potential of Indo-Pacific region and to meet the challenges that the region faces," Swaraj said after co-chairing the fifth meeting of the Joint Commission with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.
She said the meeting was held in a warm and friendly atmosphere and the two sides reviewed the whole gamut of bilateral relations.
"During our discussions, there was clear recognition that India and Indonesia, as two close maritime neighbours, are natural partners in peace and prosperity. We unequivocally condemned terrorism in all its forms, irrespective of its motivation and origin.
"We expressed our strong opposition to any selective approaches to deal with this global menace, and called upon all countries to stop providing state sponsorship of terrorism and prevent their territories being used for establishing terrorist safe havens.
"Overall, the meeting today was substantive, productive and future oriented. I believe that the fifth meeting of the Joint Commission would lead to further deepening of the strategic partnership between our two countries," Swaraj said.
She said Indonesia, as one of the largest countries, the most diverse democracy, and the biggest economy in ASEAN, has a critical role to play in evolution of the new security architecture in the Indo-Pacific region.
"Foreign Minister Retno conveyed Indonesia's determination to play its part and make due contributions to the ongoing efforts to strengthen rule and respect of law. I welcomed it and conveyed India's commitment for peace, security and development in the region," she said.
"We agreed to enhance our consultations and cooperation on maritime issues including on UNCLOS with a view to strengthen rule of law and to ensure the freedom of navigation and safety of sea lanes of communication.
"Foreign Minister Retno expressed appreciation for increase of Indian tourists to Indonesia. We agreed on expansion of civil aviation links to further enhance bilateral economic and tourism ties," Swaraj said.
"I expressed the importance of addressing the high trade deficit that India has with Indonesia and conveyed that the best way to address this issue is not to restrict trade but to increase it.
The two countries also agreed to work together for a balanced and sustainable trade by providing greater market access, both in goods and services, she said.
They also discussed the increasing demand for skill development in both countries as both have a large proportion of young population. Swaraj conveyed that India will continue its skill development assistance in the form of short term training programmes and scholarships.