Jakarta. The government expects Kazakhstan to lift visa requirements for Indonesian citizens as a reciprocal measure and to improve ties between the two countries.
Indonesia implemented 30-day visa-free entry for citizens of Kazakhstan and 168 other countries for tourism purposes in October 2015.
"We hope Kazakhstan will also give Indonesians visa-free access in return," Justice and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly said in a speech during Kazakhstan's 27th Independence Day celebration at its embassy in Jakarta on Tuesday.
"We have given visa-free access to tourists from 169 countries, including Kazakhstan, so with the existing good relationship between the two countries, and considering the principle of reciprocity, we can boost our relationship through people-to-people contact," the minister told the Jakarta Globe.
However, Kazakh Ambassador Askhat Orazbay said there was a legal process involved in granting visa-free entry to citizens of other countries.
Kazakhstan lifted visa requirements for citizens of 45 countries, including the European Union and OECD member states, on Jan. 1 last year.
Traveling to Kazakhstan, the world’s largest landlocked country, could be an interesting experience for Indonesians as it offers geographical diversity with majestic canyons, seamless deserts, arid plains, colossal glaciers and ancient structures, in addition to a multi-ethnic population. However, there are currently no direct flights between the two countries.
Kazakhstan gained its independence in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Indonesia and Kazakhstan are both Muslim-majority countries and members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The two countries established diplomatic ties in 1993.
The Central Asian country, which is bordered by both China and Russia, supported Indonesia's bid for a nonpermanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for 2019-20.
Trade between the two countries amounted to $52,920 last year, having risen from $22,123 in 2016, according to Indonesia's Ministry of Trade. During a visit to Kazakhstan last year, Vice President Jusuf Kalla called for increased trade between the two countries, Republika reported at the time.