Narendra Modi on a two-day visit to Indonesia; maritime strategy, ASEAN policy and trade talks on agenda

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday embarked on his five-day, three-nation visit to — Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia — through which he aims to boost the Act East Policy and strengthen ties with the ASEAN countries.

 Narendra Modi on a two-day visit to Indonesia; maritime strategy, ASEAN policy and trade talks on agenda

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Indonesia on Tuesday. Image courtesy: Twitter @narendramodi

Modi is first visiting Indonesia where he will be holding detailed discussions with the Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Jakarta on maritime security, Chinese interference and trade policies on Tuesday.

He will then address an Indian gathering in Jakarta at an event scheduled for 4.00 pm local time, as per a Times of India report.

"This is my first visit to Indonesia as Prime Minister. I am looking forward to my discussions with President Widodo on 30 May, as also to our joint interaction with the India-Indonesia CEOs Forum. I will also address the Indian community in Indonesia," Modi wrote on Facebook on the eve of his visit.

A report  in The Times of India states that the two leaders would attend a CEO business forum organised by the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and the Industry and the Confederation of Indian Industry. Further, Modi will do joint inauguration of a kite exhibition and indulge in a kite flying session at National Monument Monas in the morning following which an official banquet has been planned in the evening by president Widodo. Earlier on Wednesday, Modi paid homage to martyrs of Indonesian independence struggle by laying a wreath at the Kalibata National Heroes' Cemetery in Jakarta. Kalibata Heroes' Cemetery in South Jakarta is a military cemetery in Indonesia. More than 7,000 people who are military casualties and veterans from Indonesian War of Independence are buried at the cemetery which was built in 1953 and opened in November 1954 when the first burial took place.

According to news reports, Indonesian president Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, wants to promote a plan called the ‘Global Maritime Fulcrum’, which includes a commitment to Indo-Pacific sea lanes in order to balance China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and thus, him hosting the Indian prime minister is crucial to this strategy.

Therefore, foreign relations experts believe that a key highlight of the visit could be an agreement that allows India access to the strategic island of Sabang at the northern tip of Sumatra and close to the Malacca Strait. This was also indicated by Indonesia’s coordinating minister for maritime affairs Luhut Pandjaitan in his recent address in New Delhi.

Modi, however, is scheduled to further visit Singapore after a brief stopover in Malaysia — where he will congratulate the newly elected Malaysian president, Mahathir Mohamad.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: May 30, 2018 10:48:29 IST