- POSTED: 11 Oct 2013 22:03
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Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was on his first state visit to Indonesia on Friday aimed at broadening relations between Asia's two largest democracies.
JAKARTA: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was on his first state visit to Indonesia on Friday aimed at expanding strategic relations and bilateral trade between Asia's two largest democracies.
Mr Singh said: "I requested early ratification by Indonesia of the extradition treaty and mutual legal assistance treaty.
"The memorandum of understanding on cooperation in disaster management and combating narcotics trafficking was signed today."
Mr Singh was accompanied by a number of businessmen and ministers, including External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid as well as Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma.
Since 2005, India and Indonesia have had a burgeoning strategic partnership.
While many developed countries such as the US and Australia have recently begun to focus more of their foreign policy attention on Asia, India launched its own "Look East" policy back in 1991.
The aim of the policy is to strengthen relations with Southeast Asian nations.
At the Indonesian-Indian CEOs Forum, both sides agreed to promote business-to-business contacts in sectors such as IT, mining, infrastructure, agriculture and renewable energy.
The forum also agreed to further explore new areas of cooperation, including oil and gas as well as railways.
Indonesia-India trade reached an estimated US$20 billion in 2012 -- five times the value of the initial sum at the beginning of the Strategic Partnership.
Both countries are aiming to boost that number to US$25 billion by 2015.
Indonesian businessmen welcomed more Smart Capital Concept investments, which will bring about knowledge transfer, technology and innovation.
Last year, foreign direct investment from Indian firms totalled some US$78 million across 58 projects, and in the first half of this year, it reached more than US$57 million.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said: "At a time when the global economy is currently facing turmoil, the problems India and Indonesia faces are more or less the same.
"This reality has given both our countries the impetus to work closer together through an effective partnership."
Another important issue for the two countries is free trade.
A Free Trade Agreement on goods is already in place between India and ASEAN and it has significantly helped expand India's trade with the regional block.
India wants to further strengthen ties by signing a Free Trade Agreement on services and investments with ASEAN by the end of the year.