Asia Minute: India and Indonesia’s Developing Strategic Partnership

May 31, 2018

On the sidelines of the ASEAN-India Summit, Indonesian President Joko Widodo held a bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Taj Diplomatic Enclave Hotel in New Delhi on Thursday, January 25, 2018
Credit President of Indonesia / Wikimedia Commons

As you’ve been hearing on NPR, there’s a lot of attention swirling around a potential summit meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. But another top-level meeting in Asia this week may also have significant strategic importance. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

India and Indonesia appear to be growing closer.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made Jakarta his first stop of a Southeast Asian trip this week that will also take him to Malaysia and Singapore.

It was his first visit to the country as Prime Minister — and he and Indonesian President Joko Widodo signed more than a dozen agreements from defense cooperation to trade and investment.

The leaders also agreed to hold annual summit meetings.

India is a growing market for tourists travelling to Indonesia — up nearly 30-percent to nearly half a million last year.

The Times of India pointed to increased defense cooperation as “the most significant decision” of the meetings — especially “at a time when China is expanding its maritime footprint in the region.” Indonesia and India have agreed to develop a naval port on the tip of Sumatra Island —  at the entrance to the Malacca Straits. Not far from the South China Sea.

When a top Maritime Affairs official from the Indonesian government recently traveled to India, The Jakarta Post says he mentioned the importance of a strategic partnership between the two countries to maintain the “balance of power in the region.”

On the sidelines of the ASEAN-India Summit, Indonesian President Joko Widodo held a bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Taj Diplomatic Enclave Hotel in New Delhi on Thursday, January 25, 2018
Credit President of Indonesia / Wikimedia Commons

There are commercial considerations as well.

Reuters quotes an Indian Foreign Ministry official as saying Indian companies are anxious to propose infrastructure developments in Indonesia — from seaports to airports.