Wednesday, Sep 03, 2003
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By P. S. Suryanarayana
Indonesia's delegation was led by its Foreign Minister, Hassan Wirajuda, and the Indian side by the External Affairs Minister, Yashwant Sinha.
The other key participants were Makarino Wibisono and Sanusi, both top officials of the Indonesian Foreign Ministry, besides R.M. Abhyankar, Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, and H.K. Singh, India's Ambassador to Indonesia.
The agreed minutes of the Joint Commission meeting expressed "satisfaction on (the) excellent (state of) bilateral relations''. The two sides also voiced "concern at the extremely turbulent and changing international security environment''.
Besides discussing the "real threat of terrorism'', they "agreed to enhance the exchange of intelligence and information''.
Answering questions at the conclusion of the meeting, Mr. Wirajuda said the two countries "don't have any points of major disagreements'' on the issue of a bilateral counter-terror protocol. Hoping that a legal framework in this connection could be put in place "as soon as possible", he said "we share fully the interests of all countries to work closely" to combat this scourge. "There is (also) a need to improve our respective capacity in dealing with counter-terrorism."
Asked to identify the possible areas of defence-related cooperation between Jakarta and New Delhi, he said the "geographical proximity" of the two countries as also their maritime border would indicate the scope for "joint patrol'' in the area of the Andaman Sea to combat new crimes such as arms smuggling, drug-trafficking and terrorism.
Without elaborating, he emphasised that Indonesia recognised India's "advancement of military technology''.
Mr. Sinha spoke of the multi-dimensional interactions between the two countries and, responding to questions, said "we are encouraging Indonesia to look at India as a possible large market'' in the energy sector, indeed "as a natural market for any oil-producing country''. At the other end of this spectrum, Mr. Sinha said, "we are in a position to make investments in the hydrocarbon assets in Indonesia so that the capacity here goes up and we are able to partake in that increased capacity''.
Earlier, in his opening remarks at the meeting, Mr. Sinha emphasised the need for not only an anti-terror memorandum of understanding but also an extradition treaty and a mutual legal assistance pact. On security-related issues, he said "it would be useful if the Agreement on Defence Cooperation can be ratified by the Indonesian side''.
As an illustration of the multi-dimensional linkages, he said "we have .... finalised details for the setting up of vocational training centre for the construction sector in Jakarta''.
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