India, Indonesia to sign extradition treaty, other agreements

New Delhi, Jan.21 (ANI): India and Indonesia are likely to sign an extradition treaty along with other memoranda of understanding and business deals in infrastructure, resources, manufacturing and services sector during Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's three-day visit to India.

A spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs told media persons on Friday that President Yudhoyono would be accompanied by his wife and delegation of senior ministers and businessmen.

President Yudhoyono will arrive in New Delhi on January 24 and will participate in this year's Republic Day parade as the chief guest, the spokesman revealed.

Indonesia is a very important component of India's Look East policy and both countries share a maritime boundary.Close relations with Indonesia is a key component of our Look East Policy, and we do enjoy excellent relations. ndonesia is also one of our closest friends and neighbours in the ASEAN region, which has always advocated close cooperation between ASEAN and India, as well as, had supported our membership of the East Asian Summit," the MEA spokesperson said.

Indonesia is a crucial strategic ally to fight piracy, as it is the entry point of the Straits of Malacca. The Straits are the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, linking key Asian economies such as India, China, Japan and South Korea.

The MEA spokesperson said: "India and Indonesia have completed a joint study of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). India has similar agreements with Singapore, Thailand, the Republic of Korea, Japan and Malaysia."

Annual bilateral trade between India and Indonesia is estimated to be worth 11.8 billion dollars. Indonesia is India's second largest trading partner in the ASEAN region. India is a major importer of palm oil, minerals and pulp from Indonesia and energy-starved India also desires to get access to large sums of quality coal of Indonesia to energize its steel industry.

During President Yudhoyono's visit to India, both countries are expected to firm up the next steps in their CEPA negotiations.

Indonesia, which has assumed the chair of ASEAN this year, has played a key role in finalizing India's Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in goods with ASEAN and could convince other ASEAN members to reach a consensus in extending a similar FTA in the services area.

President Yudhoyono will hold delegation-level talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit. External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi will also call on him during his stay in the Indian capital. (ANI)

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