Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (centre) salutes as he inspects the honour guard at State Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, yesterday.
Jakarta: India and Indonesia yesterday deepened their strategic partnership by agreeing to expand their economic and security cooperation further in the areas of trade and investment, co-production in defence, nuclear energy and space application.
The two countries agreed to explore a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) that, they said, will unleash the growth potential of the two countries, especially in view of the Asean Economic Community coming into being in 2015.
Setting virtually a template for bilateral strategic collaboration, the two countries agreed to hold annual summits, including on the margins of international events, and consult on issues concerning the World Trade Organisation (WTO), food security, energy, combating terrorism and ensuring maritime security.
They agreed that the Joint Commission should meet every year and an Eminent Persons Group be formed to bring out within a year a vision document to take the relationship to the next level by 2025.
The two sides said they have common development concerns and faced similar security challenges, which have brought them together.
After talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the Istana Merdeka (presidential secretariat), President Susilo Bambang Yodhoyono said the unfolding strategic reality in Asia has pushed the two countries “closer”.
Manmohan Singh said India and Indonesia have “converging interests and responsibilities” at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels.
Both leaders said they have asked officials to gather ideas and suggestions about the future agenda to advance bilateral and multilateral engagements.
The two agreed that a CECA between the two should be in place to diversify two-way trade and promote investments, benefiting both the countries. Both sides agreed to take bilateral trade to $25bn by 2025, and a high-level B2B task force would look into growth of business in the two countries.
The two sides agreed to renew the agreement on cooperation in nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
They also agreed to explore collaboration in sale and co-production of defence equipment, defence related research and training, increasing the frequency of joint exercises, including among special forces.
They also signed six memoranda of understanding (MOUs) covering areas like disaster management, fighting corruption and narcotics, health and capacity building, and on institutional collaborations.
They also agreed to step up collaboration in the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) and Indian Ocean Naval Symposium. Recently, India held a track-II dialogue with Indonesia and Australia on issues pertaining to the Indian Ocean.