India-Indonesia trade to reach USD 50 billion: Experts

indexSource: The Economic Times, Dec 13, 2016

NEW DELHI: The volume of annual bilateral trade between India and Indonesia is set to touch a whopping USD 50 billion in next nine years from the present USD 9 billion, as per a vision document prepared by an Eminent Persons Group tasked to identify areas for deeper two-way engagement.

Observing that the two fast growing economies were blessed with an “epic legacy of cooperation”, it said it was high time for India and Indonesia to elevate their relations to a New Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

“By 2025, India-Indonesia bilateral economic cooperation shall blossom to reach a bilateral trade volume of USD 50 billion and two-way investment of USD 50 billion,” as per the Vision Document.

In the talks yesterday between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indonesian President Joko Widodo, the findings of the Eminent Persons Group, comprising experts from both sides, were discussed.

Referring to maritime security cooperation, the group said the partnership will contribute to strategic stability in the Indian Ocean and called for closer security and defense relations including counter-terrorism collaboration.

It said India and Indonesia will develop convergent maritime interests, and will intensify their maritime linkages by developing the necessary infrastructure and connectivity.

The document said the partnership will contribute to strategic stability in the Indian Ocean and India and Indonesia, as the largest Indian Ocean rim countries, will work closely to prevent potential conflict and rivalry.

“India and Indonesia shall have ever closer security and defense relations, marked by close military-to-military relations, counter-terrorism collaboration, naval cooperation including combined maritime patrols, regular exchanges and joint exercises, intelligence sharing, and joint production of defense equipment and systems,” it said.

Calling for deeper defence and security cooperation, particularly in maritime sphere, it said Indonesia too had been affected by China’s maritime incusions into its waters off Natuna Islands.

The group said the India-Indonesia partnership must be robust, forward looking and multi-sectoral and that it must carry significant impact, both bilaterally and in the context of regional order, commensurate with the strategic weight of both the nations.

“By 2025, the partnership shall contribute to a more durable Asian order, marked by peaceful relations among the major powers, win-win cooperation involving all the countries in the region, open regionalism, resolution and/or reduction of conflicts, and the prevalence of strategic trust,” it said.

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