Jokowi Arrives in India to Tap Potential

15, Dec 2016 | Author: Embassy of Indonesia

Shortly after arriving in the Indian capital of New Delhi for a two-day state visit, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo began making his sales pitch to Indian investors.

“Indonesia invites India to increase investment in pharmaceuticals, information technology and automotive [industry],” President Jokowi said after meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

President Jokowi is in India from Dec. 12 to 13 to meet with Modi and the Indian business community, before continuing on his journey to Iran.

Jokowi also said Indonesia expected to increase trade with India.

“Indonesia wishes to increase trade and diversify export products to India,” he said.

Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) data said the realization of investment from India to Indonesia between January and March was worth US$6.69 million.

Indonesia makes up 43 percent of India’s investment portfolio with ASEAN, having poured $57.2 million into the country last year.

On his first day in India, Jokowi conducted bilateral meetings with Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee, and attended a ceremony to mark the maiden flight of national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia’s new route connecting Jakarta and Mumbai.

Jokowi also delivered a message that “as two great democratic countries, Indonesia and India can contribute much to maintain regional and global peace and security.”

The visit is Jokowi’s first to India since taking office, reciprocating Modi’s predecessor Manmohan Singh’s tour of Jakarta in October 2013 and Vice President Mohammad Hamid Anshari’s visit in November 2015.

President Jokowi is expected to hold a meeting with 20 CEOs of Indian firms to discuss investment on Tuesday.

“We are seeking new opportunities in trade and investment,” said Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi on Monday.

Retno said Indonesia was looking to diversify exports beyond crude palm oil (CPO) and coal commodities to India.

“We want to diversify our export commodities, such as furniture. Other than that we also have commodities like gambir and areca nut,” she said.

According to the Trade Ministry, Indonesia enjoyed a trade surplus of nearly $9 billion in 2015, with two-way trade between Indonesia and India having stood at $14.4 billion.

Total trade from January to September reached $9.1 billion.

India is Indonesia’s fourth-largest trade partner, and the largest in the South Asian region.

After wrapping up his visit on Tuesday, President Jokowi is scheduled to continue his trip to Iran.

The trip to Iran is also reciprocal, with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani having participated in the 60th Asia-Africa Conference in Jakarta and Bandung in April last year.

Energy will top the agenda when Jokowi meets with senior government and business leaders
on Dec. 14.

Jokowi considers diversifying Indonesia’s energy sector partners an important step to achieving energy security.

Indonesia will need more oil and gas to achieve energy security, an analyst has said.

“Iran can increase its LPG [liquefied petroleum gas] imports to Indonesia,” Beginda Pakpahan from the University of Indonesia said.

Earlier, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) agreed to supply Pertamina with 600,000 tons of LPG for 2016 and 2017.

In addition to the LPG purchase, the two state-run companies have signed an agreement to conduct a preliminary study on two giant oil fields in Iran.

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