New Delhi, Dec 14; The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee on Dec 12 received His Excellency Mr. Joko Widodo, the President of the Republic of Indonesia and Madame Iriana Widodo at Rashtrapati Bhavan. He also hosted a banquet in their honour.
Welcoming the President of Indonesia to India, the President said India and Indonesia have has age-old bilateral ties. The two countries share a common experience of struggle for freedom from colonial rule.
The President said India welcomes Indonesia’s emergence as a vibrant democracy. India attaches high importance to Indonesia’s success as a pluralistic democracy with an open society based on the shared values of syncretism, tolerance and respect for diversity.
The President said we see India and Indonesia as two countries providing a bulwark against radicalism and intolerance. India values its cooperation with Indonesia to address these common security concerns and transnational threats. Our proximity as close maritime neighbours indicates that this is a key area where we must work together as partners to achieve for strategic stability and security in the Indo-Pacific and safety and security of sea lanes.
The President said Indonesia is the largest economy in ASEAN and India’s number one trade partner in the region. Our bilateral trade was about US$16 billion last year. We can try to realise the actual potential of our trade by diversifying our trade basket. India would value Indonesia’s active support for strengthening India-ASEAN relations during 2017 when we will be celebrating 15 years of Summit level interaction.
Subsequently, in his banquet speech, President Pranab Mukherjee said Indonesia and India helped to write the closing chapters of colonialism and started the Non-Aligned Movement. India looks forward to work with Indonesia to achieve the full potential of economic co-operation, maritime and air links and in increasing reciprocal investments. India would be happy to contribute to Indonesia’s ‘maritime fulcrum vision’ of Indonesia Nusantara and, thereby, also to the security of the Indo-Pacific region. In the multilateral and global context of facing the common challenges of the 21st Century, India and Indonesia, together, are factors of stability for the world.