President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inspect the guard at the Presidential Palace in Central Jakarta in May. (Antara Photo/Wahyu Putro A)

Modi Invites Indian Diaspora in Indonesia to Be Part of 'New India'


MAY 31, 2018

Jakarta. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Indian diaspora in Indonesia during his visit to the country on Wednesday (30/05), highlighting his government's latest achievements and urging the community to take part in opportunities offered by a "new India."

"Take part in opportunities of new India and also contribute to change it further," Modi said during a public gathering at the Jakarta Convention Center.

During the event, which was attended by around 3,000 members of the Indian diaspora in Indonesia, Modi pointed to India's role in the global economy and the growing strength of the Indian identity in the world.

"In the last four years, India has contributed to driving the global economy forward [and] it's played a very positive role," he said.

"To meet people's aspirations and expectations, we have given minimum government, maximum governance. Our mantra is: 'citizens first.'"

The Hindustan Times noted in its report that India is the fastest growing major economy in the world, with significant increase in stock markets and foreign-exchange reserves.

Modi is gearing up for another election campaign, as he and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prepare to contest the next election, scheduled for 2019.

"Today, it is the time that India has created a very strong identity for itself in the world. Do you also feel the same thing?" Modi said.

According to data from India's Ministry of External Affairs, there are around 100,000 Indonesians of Indian origin in the archipelago, living mainly in Jakarta, Medan (North Sumatra), Surabaya (East Java) and Bandung (West Java). Most are employed in the textile and sports goods industries.

In addition, there are more than 7,000 Indian citizens living in the archipelago.

During his speech, Modi also touched on the "close and ancient relations" between Indonesia and India, especially as maritime neighbors.

Urging the Indian community in Indonesia to visit India once again, to "see for themselves the things that are happening in India," he also mentioned that the Indian government is working to grant Indonesian tourists free, 30-day visas.

"We must continuously mention the fact that the closest [maritime] neighbor of Indonesia is India, and India's closest neighbor is Indonesia," Modi said.

Modi's visit to Indonesia saw the establishment of a comprehensive strategic partnership under a shared vision on maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, which was announced after his bilateral meeting with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo at Merdeka Palace in Central Jakarta on Wednesday morning.