President Joko Widodo, left, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the State Palace in Jakarta in May 2018. (Antara Photo/Wahyu Putro A.)

Jokowi, Modi Strengthen Cooperation During Pandemic

BY :NUR YASMIN

APRIL 30, 2020

Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo spoke on the phone with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday to discuss bilateral affairs and cooperation to overcome the coronavirus crisis.

"As close maritime neighbors and Comprehensive Strategic Partners, close cooperation between India and Indonesia will be important to deal with the health and economic challenges posed by this crisis," Modi tweeted on Wednesday.

According to a statement the Jakarta Globe received on Thursday, the two leaders also discussed pharmaceutical cooperation during the pandemic. 

On April 10, India sent nearly 2.5 tons of ingredients to make chloroquine – malaria medication that has been touted as a cure for Covid-19 – to state-owned pharmaceutical company Kimia Farma (2 tons) and Dexa Medica (425 kilograms).

Modi said the supply chain between India and Indonesia will remain undisrupted despite the pandemic.

Sugar, a depleting commodity in Indonesia, is among India's biggest exports to Indonesia.

Jokowi and Modi also discussed the fate of Indonesian citizens being stuck under India's strict coronavirus lockdown.

Currently, over 700 Indonesians, mostly religious pilgrims, are stuck in India due to the lockdown. A total of 75 have contracted Covid-19, and 44 of them have recovered. 

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said the Indonesian Embassy in New Delhi is closely monitoring the Indonesians and that she herself speaks regularly with her Indian counterpart about the problem. 

"The Indonesian embassy is working closely with the Indian authorities to ensure they're safe. We are also providing legal assistance to those who have had run-ins with the law," Retno said on Wednesday.

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