India, Indonesia sign extradition treaty, seal $15 billion deals (Second Lead)January 25th, 2011 - 7:26 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS) India and Indonesia, two of the world’s fastest growing economies, Tuesday announced the launch of negotiations for a free trade area accord, sealed business deals worth $15 billion and signed a crucial extradition treaty to jointly combat terrorism. Infusing new vigour in their economic ties, the two countries set the bilateral trade target of $25 billion by 2015 and unveiled a slew of initiatives.
As many as 11 agreements were signed after wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Among the new initiatives are biennial meeting of trade ministers and the establishment of a Trade and Investment Forum to leverage the full potential of the two growing economies.
On the sidelines of a business conclave addressed by the Indonesian leader, Indian and Indonesian companies sealed 18 investment deals worth $15 billion.
Yudhoyono, who arrived here Monday on a three-day state visit, was accorded a ceremonial welcome in the forecoyurt of Rashtrapati Bhavan (presidential palace) before he sat down for talks with Manmohan Singh.
Yudhoyono will be the chief guest at the ceremonial Republic Day Parade in the capital Wednesday. Incidentally, Indonesia’s first president Dr Soekarno was the chief guest at India’s first Republic Day Parade Jan 26, 1950.
The accords were signed in diverse areas, including air services, cooperation in the field of petroleum and gas, education, science and technology and media.
Manmohan Singh also announced the establishment of a consulate general of India in Bali, an Indonesian province with varied cultural links to India.
The extradition treaty and mutual legal assistance treaty were signed by External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and his Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa.
“The two leaders unequivocally condemned terrorism in all forms and manifestations and stressed that there could be no justification whatsoever for any act of terrorism,” a joint statement said after the talks.
The two leaders resolved to improve the sharing of intelligence between the two countries, develop more effective counter-terrorism policies and enhance liaison between law enforcement agencies.
They also agreed to provide assistance in the areas of border and immigration control to stem the flow of terrorist related material, money and people and specific measures against transnational crimes, including international terrorism through the already existing mechanism between Indonesia and India.
The next meeting of the joint working group on counter-terrorism will be held later this year.
Singh and Yudhoyono discussed a host of issues to add more economic and strategic heft to the burgeoning relationship. This included the evolving Asian-Pacific architecture, the UN reforms, greater collaboration in G20 forum of emerging economies and maritime security.
Against this backdrop, the two leaders announced the establishment of an Eminent Persons’ Group (EPG) for developing a “Vision Statement 2025″ for for expanding Indonesia-India strategic partnership over the next 15 years.
India is looking at expanding and reinventing relations with Indonesia, once co-founder of non-aligned movement and Afro-Asian solidarity and now a key player in the 10-nation Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Besides, Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous nation, third largest democracy, the world’s most populous Muslim nation which shares a civilisational heritage with India that dates back centuries.
India, home to the world’s third largest Muslim population and an aspirant for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, is projected to the third largest economy in the next few decades.
In an important development, the two leaders announced the commencement of negotiations on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).
“Both leaders agreed that the CECA would be a comprehensive agreement, covering economic cooperation, trade in goods and services, and investment and hoped that it would further contribute to building a higher-level and mutually beneficial economic cooperation between the two countries,” said the joint statement.
Indonesia has ambitious plans to spend $140 billion until 2014 on bolstering its infrastructure and reaching an economic growth target of seven percent.
“With regard to the national investment roadmap, Indonesia would also welcome further investments from India, especially in the fields of energy, food and infrastructure,” said the joint statement.
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