October 11, 2013
Jakarta, Indonesia

PM's statement to the media during his visit to Indonesia

I am truly delighted to return to this beautiful country on my first official bilateral visit at the invitation of His Excellency President Yudhoyono. I have always admired the President for his wisdom and visionary leadership and for the abiding personal commitment he has brought to strengthening the strategic partnership between our two countries.

Indonesia is one of India’s most valued partners in our Look East Policy.  Our bilateral relations are rich in potential and growing rapidly. As two large democracies and major emerging economies, we have many convergent interests and responsibilities in bilateral, regional and global forums. As maritime neighbours along one of the most critical sea links in the world, we also have shared interests in maritime security.

I attach great importance to this visit as an opportunity to build on the momentum generated by His Excellency President Yudhoyono’s two landmark visits to India in 2005 and 2011 and to add further content to our relationship.

In our discussions today, we reaffirmed the importance of our Strategic Partnership for our two countries and our region. We expressed satisfaction with progress in our relations and outlined an ambitious course for the future. To this end, President Yudhoyono and I have agreed to deepen our partnership in each of the five major dimensions of our relationship: political, security, economic, people-to-people and international issues.

We agreed to continue the process of intensifying our political exchanges and stressed the early implementation of our bilateral initiatives. To this end, we have directed our officials to evolve a comprehensive action plan for meaningful and mutually beneficial security cooperation.

We reiterated our resolve to boost bilateral cooperation in combating terrorism, organized crime, drug and human trafficking and counterfeiting. I requested early ratification by Indonesia of the Extradition Treaty and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. The Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Disaster Management and Combating Narcotics Trafficking signed today will also give more substance to our growing security cooperation.

The fourfold growth in bilateral trade in the last seven years reflects the vast potential of our economic relations. I emphasised to the President that measures to increase trade and encourage investments, besides early conclusion of a bilateral Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement would greatly expand and diversify our economic relations.  We agreed that improved connectivity, early implementation of India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement in Services and Investment and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership would be important in this regard.

We took note of our valuable space cooperation and looked forward to strengthening it in future. I conveyed to the President our offer to assist the Indonesian Government in setting up a Vocational Training Centre in Papua, after the successful experience of those established in Jakarta and Banda Aceh.
We have also decided to establish Chairs of Indian and Indonesian Studies in each other's universities and further expand our programme of scholarships, facilitate linkages among educational institutions and encourage partnerships in training and research.

I conveyed to President Yudhoyono our appreciation for Indonesia’s strong support for the evolution of India’s Strategic Partnership with ASEAN. We value Indonesia's leadership role in the ASEAN and the Association’s effort in fostering broader regional cooperation and integration. I also recalled the President’s very valuable suggestion for cooperation in the fields of food security and counter-terrorism between India and ASEAN at the India-ASEAN Summit yesterday in Brunei, and directed our officials to work towards concrete proposals in this regard.

Let me reiterate that India-ASEAN partnership is a force for peace and shared prosperity in our region. We also look forward to working closely with Indonesia in important regional, multilateral and global forums.

I thank President Yudhoyono once again for a very productive meeting and his generous hospitality.  I am confident that our discussions and the agreements we have signed today will add new meaning and content to the strategic partnership between India and Indonesia.

Thank you.