Embassy of India
India-Indonesia Bilateral Relations
India and Indonesia have shared two millennia of close cultural and commercial contacts. The Hindu, Buddhist and later Muslim faith travelled to Indonesia from the shores of India. The Indonesian folk art and dramas are based on stories from the great epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. The shared culture, colonial history and post-independence goals of political sovereignty, economic self-sufficiency and independent foreign policy have unifying effect on the bilateral relations.
During our respective struggles for independence, the national leaderships of India and Indonesia led by Jawaharlal Nehru and President Sukarno collaborated closely in supporting the cause of independence of Asian and African countries and later laid the foundation of the Non-Aligned Movements at the Asian-African Conference held in Bandung in 1955. Since the adoption of India’s ‘Look East Policy’ in 1991, there has been a rapid development of bilateral relations in political, security, defence, commercial and cultural fields. The current Government wants to further deepen the relationship with East Asia and has therefore rightly titled its policy as “Act East”.
State Visit of President Yudhoyono in January 2011: During the State Visit of President Mr S. B. Yudhoyono to India in 2005, the two countries signed a Joint Declaration on Establishing a Strategic Partnership. In January 2011, President Yudhoyono visited India as the Chief Guest on the occasion of India’s Republic Day. During the visit, 16 Inter-Governmental Agreements were signed which included an Extradition Treaty, Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, an MoU on Establishing a Biennial Trade Ministers’ Forum, an MoU on Cooperation in Oil and Gas, an MoU on Science and Technology Cooperation, and a Cultural Exchange Programme. In addition, during the visit, it was agreed to set up an Eminent Persons Group and to organize regular meetings of Defense, Home, Oil and Gas, Coal, Power, Renewable Energy, Science and Technology, Tourism, Health and Education Ministers. India and Indonesia agreed to launch negotiations for a Bilateral Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement. The two sides also agreed to organize a Trade and Investment Forum, an Energy Forum and a CEO’s Forum alternately in either country.
State visit of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in October 2013: Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh visited Indonesia on 10-12 October 2013. During the visit, MOUs on the issues such as combating illicit trafficking in Narcotic drugs; cooperation in disaster management; and cooperation in combating corruption were signed. Both leaders agreed to adopt a five-pronged initiative for strengthening the Strategic Partnership in the areas of Strategic Engagement, Defence and Security Cooperation, Comprehensive Economic Partnership, Cultural and People-to-People Links and Cooperation in Responding to Common Challenges.
Visit of Vice President of India in November 2015: Shri M. Hamid Ansari, Vice President of India visited Indonesia from 1-4 November 2015. Vice President held talks with Mr. Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia, Mr. Jusuf Kalla, Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia, Mr. Zulkifli Hasan, Chairman of MPR, Mr. Irman Gusman, Chairman of DPD, Mr. I Made Mangku Pastika, Governor Bali, leaders of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Mohamadiyah, prominent Muslim social organizations of Indonesia. Vice President unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi in Udayana University, Bali. Three MOUs were signed during the visit of Vice President viz. MOU on cooperation in the field of Culture; MOU on cooperation in new and renewal energy; and MOU for establishment of an Ayurveda Chair in Faculty of Medicine at Sudirman Campus, Denpasar, Bali.
State Visit of President Joko Widodo to India: Mr. Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia paid a State visit to India from 12-13 December, 2016 at the invitation of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. President Joko Widodo and Prime Minister Modi held talks and reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations. Three agreements were signed during the visit: MoU on Youth Affairs and Sports Cooperation; MoU on Standardization Cooperation; and Joint Communique on Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) Fishing and To Promote Sustainable Fisheries Governance. The two sides also issued a Joint Statement; A Statement on Maritime Cooperation which mandates both sides to draw up a MoU for cooperation in this area; and agreed to annual meetings of the leaders. The two sides agreed to commence Strategic Dialogue, Security Dialogue and to negotiate a new Comprehensive Defence Cooperation Agreement. India and Indonesia also agreed that the following mechanisms will meet within the first six months of 2017: Joint Ministerial Commission; Defence Ministers Dialogue and Joint Defence Cooperation Committee; Biennial Trade Ministers Forum and Energy Forum at Ministerial level. The First Meeting of the Bilateral CEO’s Forum comprising about 40 CEOs of top corporates from both sides met during the occasion and made recommendations to the two Leaders. The India-Indonesia Eminent Persons Group submitted its report to H.E. Retno Marsuki, Foreign Minister of Indonesia and H.E. Shri M.J. Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs on 12 December 2016. Garuda Indonesia launched its flight from Jakarta to Mumbai on 12 December 2016 to mark the occasion.
Recent meetings at Ministerial Level: Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs and Indian Overseas Affairs visited Jakarta to participate in the 60th Asian African Conference Commemoration (AACC) during 21-24 April 2015. She met with Mr. Muhammad Jusuf Kalla, Vice President of Indonesia and Ms. Megawati Soekarnoputri, former President of Indonesia and Chairperson of PDI-P on the sidelines of AACC. General (Retd). Vijay Kumar Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs, visited Indonesia two times in 2015. The first visit of MOS (VKS) was for participation in the Ministerial level meeting of 60th AACC in Jakarta. MOS (VKS) held talks with Ms. Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Indonesia on the sidelines of AACC. He again visited Padang, Indonesia, for participating in IORA Council of Ministers Meeting from 22-23 October 2015.
Mr Kiren Rijiju, Hon’ble Minister of State for Home Affairs, participated in the International Meeting on Counter Terrorism held in Bali on 10 August 2016. During his bilateral meeting with H.E. Mr Wiranto, Coordinating Minister of Political, Legal and Security Affairs of Republic of Indonesia, both sides reviewed all aspects of bilateral cooperation including defence and security cooperation. General (Retd). Vijay Kumar Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs,visited Bali on 27 October 2016 for attending Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Council of Ministers Meeting. He also addressed the 16th IORA COM meeting.
Foreign Office Consultation and Joint Working Groups: The Third Foreign Office Consultation (FOC) between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia and the Ministry of External Affairs of the Republic of India was held in Jakarta on 17 December 2015. The two sides have instituted several Joint Working Groups (JWGs) to look into varied aspects of bilateral cooperation.
Parliamentary Exchanges: There are regular Parliamentary exchanges between two countries. A 13-member Indian Parliamentary Goodwill Delegation led by Hon’ble Mr. Ravi Prakash Verma, Member of Parliament, visited Indonesia from 14-18 April 2016. A delegation from DPR Commission I visited India from 6-12 December 2015 which was followed by the visit of delegation from DPD from 10-16 December 2015. A Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) party Parliamentary delegation led by Mr. Ahmad Muzani, Member of Parliament, visited New Delhi from 27 August to 2 September 2016 to learn about Elections Mechanism in India, People Empowerment and new initiatives being taken in Agricultural sector.
India Indonesia Eminent Persons Group: The India Indonesia Eminent Persons Group (II-EPG) was established to review India- Indonesia Relations and explore ways to widen and deepen the existing cooperation towards a sustainable long-term strategic partnership between India and Indonesia. The II-EPG met on three occasions, namely on April 5-6, 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia; on October 21-22, 2016 in New Delhi, India, and November 23-24, 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The meetings were co-chaired by Ambassador Mr. Biren Nanda from the Indian side and Dr. Dino Patti Djalal, Former Vice Foreign Minister from the Indonesian side. The Co-Chairs submitted the II-EPG report to Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and MOS for External Affairs Shri M. J. Akbar on 12 December 2016 during the visit of President Joko Widodo to India.
Recent Ministerial Visits from Indonesia: A delegation led by Mr. Jonan Ignasius, Minister of Transportation visited India from 12-16 February 2016 at the invitation of Ms. Nirmala Seetharaman, Minister for Commerce & Industry for exploring opportunities for economic cooperation between the two countries. He led the delegation to ‘Make in India’ event in Mumbai and met CIM, Minister of Civil Aviation and MoS (Ministry of Railways). Minister of National Development Planning of Indonesia Mr. Sofyan Djalil visited New Delhi from 17-19 February 2016 to participate in Delhi Dialogue VIII.
Economic and Commercial Relations
Indonesia has emerged as the largest trading partner of India in the ASEAN region. Bilateral trade has increased from US$ 4.3 billion in 2005-06 to US$ 15.9 billion in 2015-16. The downfall was registered due to prevailing global economic situation, fall in commodity prices and less overall imports by Indonesia. India is the second largest buyer of coal and crude palm oil from Indonesia and imports minerals, rubber, pulp and paper and hydrocarbons reserves. India exports refined petroleum products, maize, commercial vehicles, telecommunication equipment, oil seeds, animal feed, cotton, steel products and plastics to Indonesia.
During the visit of President Joko Widodo to India on 11-13 December 2016, a 25-member high-powered business delegation accompanied the President. Boosting of economic engagement with special focus on pharmaceuticals and IT was the main business agenda of the visit. On the sidelines of the visit, the meeting of India-Indonesia CEOs' Forum was held in New Delhi on 12 December 2016. The CEOs Forum comprised of 22 members from each side. The meeting was co-chaired by Dr. Naushad Forbes, President of CII and Mr. Rosan Roeslani, Chairman of KADIN. The forum discussed and arrived at constructive suggestions to further enhance bilateral trade and investment cooperation. It was agreed by both sides to set up sectoral core groups to suggest specific recommendations to institute strategies for expanding the cooperation in identified sectors and to take up any impediments to trade and investment with both governments. Additionally, a select group of twenty Indian CEOs met President Joko Widodo on 13 December 2016 during which the President invited the Indian companies to invest in Indonesia and assured them that the Indonesian government will address issues if any on priority basis.
The Mission has organized several interactive sessions of India Business Forum, which is a representative organization of all the Indian business interests in Indonesia, with the investment board, local chambers of commerce, regional governments as well as the visiting Indian government and industry delegations. In the recent past, a number of commercial events/visits have been organized/coordinated by the Embassy. The Mission has also prepared a number of market studies which were shared with the Department of Commerce, Industry associations and other stakeholders in India.
There is an active cultural exchange between the two countries. The Mission operates Jawaharlal Nehru Indian Cultural Centre (JNICC) which conducts regular classes of Indian classical music, Indian classical dances (Kathak and Bharatnatyam), Yoga, and also teaches Hindi and Tamil languages. The Embassy produces You Tube videos and brings out publications on the various topical issues related to education in India, commerce, culture, yoga, and bilateral relations etc. in Bahasa Indonesia in order to disseminate information to wider section of Indonesian people.
Sahabat India: Festival of India in Indonesia 2015:‘Sahabat India -The Festival of India in Indonesia’ was inaugurated on 26 January 2015 by H.E. Ms. Megawati Soekarnoputri, former President of Indonesia. The festival was organized from 26 January to 15 August 2015. During the Festival of India, more than 35 different events such as folk dances, dance drama, puppet show, musical shows, exhibitions, seminars, mall promotions, screening of Bollywood cinema, documentaries and the like were organized in several prestigious locations in Jakarta. Besides, Embassy organized segments of the festival in fifteen other cities in Indonesia, including Bali, Yogyakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Surakarta and Medan. Embassy has also produced three YouTube videos on different aspects of “Sahabat India – The Festival of India in Indonesia-2015”.
International Day of Yoga: The International Day of Yoga (IDY) was celebrated with enthusiasm and fervour in the four cities of Jakarta, Bali, Medan, Surabaya and Yogyakarta in Indonesia from 18-26 June 2016. It was also celebrated in Dili, Timor Leste. It was a grand success as around 10000 persons of different age groups and professions participated in the celebrations. The Yoga event in Yogyakarta was organized in famous Prambanan Temple complex which is a World Heritage site. The Mission has also brought out one YouTube video on the International Day of Yoga.
Other Cultural activities: Embassy/JNICC hosted visits from India of various cultural troupes including a Lavani group from ICCR in November 2015; a 7-member Jazz band group called Joe Alvares and the Indian All Stars, who also participated in the Java Jazz Festival; and ; and a 12-member Manipuri dance group from ICCR led by Shri Premjit Singh Keisham. The Embassy organized an event for book launch of Mrs. Hema Devare’s book “Ganga to Mekong: A Cultural Voyage through Textiles” in association with Museum of Fine Arts in June 2016. The Embassy in association with Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized Foreign Policy Lecture by Ambassador Sudhir T. Devare on the theme “Optimizing India’s Act East Policy to promote Indonesia-India bilateral relations” in June 2016.The Mission in association with Ministry of Culture of Republic of Indonesia also organized book reading function where Amitav Ghosh, author, explained characters and historical time-period of his novel “The Glass Palace”.
Indian Community in Indonesia
There are around 100,000 Indonesians of Indian origin in Indonesia mostly concentrated in Greater Jakarta, Medan, Surabaya and Bandung. They are mainly engaged in trade dealing in textiles and sports goods. There are around 7527 Indian nationals living in Indonesia including engineers, consultants, chartered accountants, bankers and other professionals. The Indian community is very well regarded in Indonesia, is generally prosperous and includes individuals holding senior positions in local and multinational companies. The Embassy in August 2012, established an Indian Cultural Forum (ICF) which is umbrella organization of thirty-one Indian social organizations. Embassy also organizes Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas to engage with the Indian Diaspora in Indonesia.
For more information and latest updates please visit:
Embassy of India, Jakarta website: http://www.indianembassyjakarta.com
Embassy of India, Jakarta Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/IndiainIndonesia
Embassy of India, Jakarta Twitter account: https://twitter.com/@IndianEmbJkt
Embassy of India, Jakarta YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/IndianEmbJkt
India Global- AIR FM Gold Program featuring India and Indonesia Relations: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YM6DXyyHlkM
(Updated upto 16 December 2016)