IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


18th July, 2022 International Relations

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Context: Indonesian President Joko Widodo is recasting himself as a global peacemaker ahead of the G20 summit in Bali in November this year, where growing tensions between the West and Russia are expected to spill over


Bilateral Brief India-Indonesia Bilateral Relations:

  • India and Indonesia have shared two millennia of close cultural and commercial contacts.
  • The Hindu, Buddhist and later Muslim faith travelled to Indonesia from the shores of India.

Political Relations

  • Owing to struggle against colonial powers, democratic traditions, pluralist culture, and progressive leadership which both countries shared, India and Indonesia developed friendly relations.
  • President Sukarno of Indonesia was the Guest of Honour during the first Republic Day of India in 1950.
  • Independent India and Indonesia became chief votaries of independence of Asian and African countries, the spirit which led to historic Bandung Conference of 1955 and later formation of Non-Aligned Movement in 1961.
  • Since the adoption of India’s ‘Look East Policy’ in 1991, there has been a rapid development of bilateral relations in political, security, defence, commercial and cultural fields.
  • The current Government expressed its intent to further deepen the engagement with East Asia and by renaming the policy as “Act East”.

Important Visits And Engagements: Regular top-level visits are there.

Bilateral Institutional Mechanisms:

  • Joint Commission Meeting
  • Foreign Office Consultations
  • India Indonesia Security Dialogue
  • Defence Ministers’ Dialogue
  • Consular Dialogue
  • Policy planning dialogue
  • Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism
  • Joint Working Group on Narcotics
  • Biennial Trade Ministers’ Forum (BTMF
  • Energy Forum
  • CEOs Forum
  • JWG on Oil and Gas, New and Renewable Energy, Coal, Agriculture
  • Civil Aviation Consultation
  • Meeting of Joint Committee on Space Cooperatio
  • India Indonesia Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Industry Forum
  • India Indonesia Infrastructure Forum

Trilateral Institutional Mechanisms:

  • Australia-India-Indonesia Trilateral Dialogue on Indian Ocean
  • Indonesia-Australia-India (IAI) Senior Officials’ Strategic Dialogue

Parliamentary Exchanges: There are regular Parliamentary exchanges between two countries.


Connectivity Between Andaman And Aceh: Joint Task Force on Andaman & Nicobar Islands – Aceh Connectivity: Pursuant to the Joint Statement during the visit of Prime Minister of India to Jakarta in 2018, a Joint Task Force was set up by India and Indonesia.

Commercial Relations:

  • Indonesia has emerged as the second largest trading partner of India in the ASEAN region.
  • Bilateral trade has increased from US$ 4.3 billion in 2005-06 to US$ 21 billion in 2018-19.
  • India is the second largest buyer of coal and crude palm oil from Indonesia and imports minerals, rubber, pulp and paper and hydrocarbons reserves.
  • India exports refined petroleum products, commercial vehicles, telecommunication equipment, agriculture commodities, bovine meat, steel products and plastics to Indonesia.

Defence Cooperation:

  • In 2018, during the visit of the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, a new Defence Cooperation Agreement was signed to reflect the elevation of relationship between the two countries to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
  • Activities relating to cooperation in the area of Defence and Security are regularly monitored and new areas discussed during the Biennial Defence Ministers Dialogue, the annual Joint Defence Cooperation Meetings and the service level Staff Talks.

Cultural Relations: There is an active cultural exchange between the two countries. Indonesia is a major recipient of ITEC and TCS of Colombo Plan scholarships.


Indian Community in Indonesia: There are around 120,000 Indonesians of Indian origin in Indonesia mostly concentrated in Greater Jakarta, Medan, Surabaya and Bandung. They are mainly engaged in trade dealing in textiles and sports goods.