New Delhi, July 28 India and Indonesia, two of the six co-founders of the Non-Aligned Movement and now among the world’s emerging economies, Friday held talks to map the way forward for deepening strategic ties and signed a double tax avoidance pact to scale up bilateral trade to $25 billion by 2015.
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna held wide-ranging talks with his Indonesian counterpart Marty M. Natalegawa on a wide range of issues.
The two ministers discussed ways to expand cooperation in diverse areas, including energy, oil and gas, defence, counter-terrorism, agriculture, science and technology, education and culture.
After the talks, the two ministers signed an agreement on avoidance of double taxation and on the “prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income”, a key step that will accelerate bilateral trade between the two countries.
“Indonesia is an important partner for us in our Look East policy. Our trade has expanded rapidly and has now touched $20 billion,” Krishna said at a joint press conference with his Indonesian counterpart.
“We are confident of achieving the target of $25 billion set for 2015. Indian investment in Indonesia is rising,” he said.
The two sides also “identified specific areas in which both countries would be working together to take the relationship to the next higher level,” said Krishna.
The talks set the stage for the visit of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to India for the India-ASEAN commemorative summit New Delhi will be hosting in December.
Underlining the growing ties between India and the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Yudhoyono was the chief guest at India’s January 26 Republic Day parade last year.
During Yudhoyono’s visit, the two sides agreed on a biennial meeting of trade ministers and the establishment of a Trade and Investment Forum to leverage the full potential of their growing economies.
India is steadily expanding and reinventing relations with Indonesia, a key player in ASEAN and one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Besides, Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous nation, the third largest democracy and the world’s most populous Muslim nation which shares a civilisational heritage with India that dates back centuries.