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People-to-people dialogue and interfaith dialogue to boost Act East Policy

By Oneindia Staff Writer
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New Delhi: It has been a long overdue visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Besides security issues, economic development and mutual cooperation are issues where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indonesian President Joko Widodo agreed upon. Cultural co-operation and people-to-people contact were issues of mutual benefit.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo

Both the countries agreed upon to work for early conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and reiterated that it needed to be comprehensive, fair and balanced benefiting Asean. They welcomed meeting of the prominent business leaders at the CEO forum in Jakarta on May 29, 2018. They noted that there were considerable cooperation in health and pharmaceutical sector. So leaders directed convening a meeting in second half of 2018 of health officials, drug regulators and industry representatives. Highlighted the importance of food security for the people of both countries and agreed to work together towards mutual and better actions in this area.

The External Affairs ministry said that both the leaders acknowledged the importance of connectivity in globalised world for trade, tourism and people-to-people contacts. MoU on Cooperation in the Railways Sector, development of rail related programs, exchange of knowledge, technology and institutional cooperation between India and Indonesia. Direct flights by Garuda Indonesia between Bali and Mumbai started in April 2018, so emphasis was on establishing more flight connectivity. Importance of stronger connectivity, particularly on sea links, in order to facilitate economic cooperation and people-to-people contact. Plan to build connectivity between Andaman Nicobar-Aceh to unleash the economic potentials of both areas. Renewable energy, sharing expertise of Indonesia in gasification of fuel oil and exploration of oil, gas and coal-based on Indonesian existing regulations were also discussed.

They said that access to reliable, clean and affordable energy is critical for economic growth of both countries, promotion of energy efficiency technologies, new and renewable energy technologies, potential cooperation in the area of peaceful use of nuclear energy and looked forward to the early renewal of an Agreement on Cooperation regarding the Utilization of Nuclear Energy for Peaceful Purposes.

People-to-people relations, educational institutions and efforts to institutionalize university-to-university linkages were also discussed. MoU in the field of scientific and technological cooperation, importance of investment in education, human resources and skill development to empower young generations in India and Indonesia were key areas in the discussion besides cooperation of aerospace.

They agreed to widen and deepen cultural and historical ties and revive as well as reconnect the civilizational and historic cultural heritage between the two countries and strengthening people-to-people contact. They welcomed the signing of LoI between Bali-Uttarakhand and the commencement of the World Heritage Twinning Program of Candi Prambanan and Taj Mahal. Both Leaders expressed satisfaction at the growth of tourist numbers between the two countries and emphasized the importance of visa exemption to boost a greater number of tourists.

Interfaith dialogue is a reflection of the united commitment of both countries to explore a new understanding on the rise of religious identities, the dynamic of pluralism and to eradicate radicalism, terrorism, and violent extremism. Indonesia and India have pursued the ideals of pluralism, tolerance, rule of law and values of peaceful co-existence. The Leaders also shared the view on the imperative need to eradicate radicalism and reiterated the importance of promoting peaceful pluralism that would lead to true civilization harmony, and moderation through a holistic approach. Thus, both leaders agreed to organize an interfaith dialogue in Indonesia in early October 2018, which will be followed by a similar dialogue in India next year.

Both the leaders reiterated the importance of peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region where sovereignty, international law, freedom of navigation and overflight, sustainable development and an open and fair trade and investment system are respected. The development of the Indo-Pacific concept, must also be done in an open, transparent, and inclusive manner, respect for the international law and uphold ASEAN Centrality.

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