Indian Foreign Minister to Visit Jakarta This Week

India’s foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, is scheduled to arrive in Jakarta on Friday (05/01). (Reuters Photo/Brendan McDermid)

By : Sheany | on 7:06 PM January 04, 2018
Category : News, Foreign Affairs

Jakarta. India's foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, is scheduled to arrive in Jakarta on Friday (05/01) to attend the fifth Indonesia-India joint commission meeting with her Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi.

According to director general for South and Central Asia at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ferdy Piay, the meeting is aimed to strengthen the two countries' strategic partnership, which was established in 2005 to cover political, security, economic and cultural affairs.

"The foreign ministers will also discuss the regional architecture of Asia ... as big countries, we have to see how we approach the future of our regional architecture," Ferdy told reporters during a press briefing in Jakarta on Thursday.

The ministers will also discuss a recent increase in tariffs on crude palm oil in India and energy security.

India is Indonesia's top export market for palm oil and the second biggest importer of Indonesian coal.

"India is not only looking to invest in coal, but also in clean and sustainable energy," Ferdy said.

Between January and October 2017, bilateral trade was worth nearly $15 billion, with Indonesia's surplus at $8.3 billion.

Indonesia is India's largest trading partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Next year, the two countries will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. The joint commission meeting will also cover plans for the anniversary's celebration event.

Swaraj's visit to Indonesia is part of her tour, which includes Thailand and Singapore, for implementing India's "Act East" policy.

The policy seeks to improve India's relations with other countries in the Indo-Pacific region — Asean member states, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island countries.

The policy covers not only economic, but also security, political, counterterrorism and defense cooperation.

Jokowi to Visit India

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is scheduled to visit India at the end of the month, where he will attend the Asean-India Commemorative Summit on Jan. 25 and India's Republic Day Parade the following day.

The president's last visit to India was in December 2016, during which he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to cooperate in fisheries, maritime affairs, youth and sports development, and to commence strategic and security dialogues. The dialogues, Ferdy said, will begin next week in Jakarta.

On his upcoming visit to New Delhi, Jokowi will invite Modi to visit Indonesia. The visit is expected to happen in the first half of the year.

"As the year 2019 will be a year of elections for both India and Indonesia ... we hope the prime minister's visit will take place during his tour to the Southeast Asian region, hopefully in the first half of 2018," Ferdy said.

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