As Indonesia and Kazakhstan mark 20 years of diplomatic relations, officials from both sides called for stronger bilateral ties amid news of a presidential visit to the Central Asian nation.
Kazakhstan’s ambassador to Indonesia, Askhat Orazbay, announced on Thursday that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was scheduled to visit Kazakhstan this coming September.
Orazbay, addressing a round table meeting on bilateral cooperation held to mark the two decades of diplomatic ties, cited many similarities between the nations.
Both countries, he said, are states with predominantly Muslim multi-ethnic populations, hold strategic geopolitical locations and share similar positions on a range of current international issues.
He said the visit “will give a strong impetus to further develop mutually beneficial bilateral relations between our two countries and will open up opportunities for boosting economic cooperation.”
“Indonesia and Kazakhstan share similar nation-building targets. Like Indonesia, our country is on the path of industrial innovative development,” Orazbay said, adding that both countries enjoyed peace and stability at home, allowing for economic growth rates of more than 5 percent.
Wahid Supriyadi, an economic, social and cultural affairs expert at the Indonesian Foreign Ministry, agreed that Yudhoyono’s upcoming visit would open up more opportunities for the two countries to bolster their relationship.
He said bilateral trade had grown 16 percent in the last five years and in 2012 alone by 90 percent to $63million.
Rizal Affandi Lukman, a deputy to the coordinating minister for economic affairs, said the leaders of both countries had set a target of raising the bilateral trade value to $100 million by 2017.
“There is a lot of room for us to expand,” he said.
Rizal added that both countries stood to benefit through cooperation, not only with each other but also with the regional organizations of which they were part.
He pointed to Indonesia’s membership in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which is looking toward the start of greater economic cooperation with an Asean Economic Community in 2015.
Kazakhstan, for its part, has entered into a custom union agreement with Russia and Belarus.