India and Indonesia share a cultural heritage. In, 2013 a BBC world service poll found that 51% of the Indonesians view India and Indians in a positive light, with only 21% of them expressing a negative view about India.
The nation also shares an ancient Hindu philosophy with Indian. Rabindranath Tagore while visiting Bali stated –“wherever I go on the Island, I see god.” During the Indonesian National Revolution, India was among the first countries to recognize Indonesia. Despite all this, the bilateral relations between these two countries have been nominal.
In his recent and first official visit to Indonesia, Prime Minister Modi met with President Joko Widodo and both countries agreed to double their efforts to boost bilateral trade to 50 USD Billion by 2025. They also decided to co-operate on areas like defence, maritime security, trade, and economy.
In a joint statement, Modi stated that India and Indonesia have agreed to upgrade their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership. Both parties have also agreed to work extensively for the early conclusion of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and stated the importance of the agreement being comprehensive, fair and balanced will benefit all the member states.
Prime Minister Modi appreciated the increased number of Indonesian companies’ involvement in ‘Make in India’ initiative. India and Indonesia also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on health co-operation. They also mentioned the MoU on co-operation in the railways’ sector and how it will promote technical co-operation, exchange of knowledge, technology, and institutional co-operation. These are just a few of the 15 MoU’s signed between India and Indonesia in Prime Minister Modi’s inaugural visit to Indonesia.
According to Indonesia’s Central Statistics Agency (BPS), trade between two countries in 2016 was 12.9 billion USD and it rose by 28.7% to 18.13 billion USD in 2017 with Indonesia’s exports to India reaching around 14.08 billion USD. The bilateral trade has increased from 6.9 billion USD in 2007-08 to 20 billion USD in 2013-14.
There was just one incident that could cause discord between India and Indonesia, in 1965 Indonesia offered to help Pakistan by dispatching submarines to seize Andaman and Nicobar islands in an effort to distract India from the Kashmir front. That was resolved by a signing of a maritime agreement between the two countries.
Both leaders agreed to co-operate in the promotion of energy efficiency technologies, new and renewable technologies, the statement stated.