Visits Visits

Transcript of Media Briefing by Secretary (East) on Vice President’s forthcoming Visit to Indonesia and Brunei (October 26, 2015)

October 27, 2015

Official Spokesperson (Shri Vikas Swarup): Good evening friends and welcome to this press briefing on the Vice President’s forthcoming visits to Indonesia and Brunei from November 1 to 6. We have with us today Secretary (East) Shri Anil Wadhwa. I also have Mr. Anshuman Gaur, the OSD to the Vice President, and Mr. Piyush Shrivastava, the Director (South).

With that I will request Secretary (East) to give you an overview of the Vice President’s visit, what is expected, what is the programme; and then we can get into the Q & A. The floor is yours, Sir.

Secretary (East) (Shri Anil Wadhwa): Thank you, Vikas.

Our Vice President Shri Hamid Ansari will be on an official visit to Indonesia at the invitation of His Excellency Mr. Jusuf Kalla, the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia. This visit will take place from 1st to 4th of November 2015. The visit is essentially to carry forward our bilateral engagement with our strategic partner Indonesia at the highest level.

As you are aware, the national leadership of India and Indonesia in the past led by our former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President Sukarno collaborated very closely in supporting the cause of Asian and African independence and also laid the foundation of the Afro-Asian and Non-Aligned movements at the Bandung Conference in 1955.

During the state visit of President Yudhoyono to India in 2005, we signed a joint declaration on establishing our strategic partnership. President Yudhoyono visited India as the Chief Guest on the occasion of India’s Republic Day in 2011. Prime Minister Shri Modi had met with President Joko Widodo of Indonesia in Nay Pyi Taw on 13th of November 2014 on the sidelines of the 25th ASEAN Summit. And here both sides had agreed on a roadmap for future engagement.

During the visit from 1 to 4 November, our Vice President will be, as I said, meeting Vice President Jusuf Kalla. We will reaffirm our commitment to strengthen and consolidate our economic and strategic relationship.

Indonesia has emerged as the second largest trading partner of India in the ASEAN region. Bilateral trade has witnessed a five-fold increase in the last few years as against USD 4.3 billion which was the trade in 2005-06. It is now about USD 20 billion in 2014-15. India is also the largest buyer of crude palm oil and coal from Indonesia. India also imports minerals, rubber, pulp and paper, and hydrocarbons. India exports refined petroleum products, maze, commercial vehicles, telecommunication equipment, animal feed, cotton, steel products, plastics and pharmaceuticals in bulk formulations to Indonesia.

Indian companies have made investments in textiles and steel, automobile sector, mining machinery, banking, IT and consumer goods sectors. And Indian investors have contributed to the development of Indonesia to a large degree. About 250,000 jobs have been created in Indonesia as a result of these investments. We seek a balanced economic partnership with Indonesia, and at the moment our investments are around USD 15 billion in this country.

As far as culture is concerned, we share very common cultural values. The epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata form the basis of a large number of folktales and also Wayang Puppet shows. Recently India had organized Sahabat India, which is the Festival of India in Indonesia in 2015, this year. And during this festival, folk dances, dance drama shows, musical shows, exhibitions, seminars, small promotions and screening of Bollywood cinema were held in several prestigious locations all over Indonesia, in fact in 18 different cities. We have an active cultural centre in Jakarta as well as in Bali.

We offer training under ITEC and TCS of Colombo Plan and Indonesia is a major recipient of the scholarships. In 2015-16, 100 ITEC and Colombo Plan slots have been allocated Indonesia. Over 1300 Indonesian officials have attended training programmes in India under these schemes over the past decade.

ICCR also offers 20 to 22 scholarships every year to Indonesian students for pursuing higher studies at undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral and post doctoral levels, under its general cultural scholarship scheme; and this has been happening since 1994-95. So, over 200 Indonesian students have availed the ICCR scholarship.

A little bit in brief about the programme. The Vice President will arrive in Indonesia in the evening on the 1st of November 2015. The same evening he is expected to visit the historical Istiqlal Mosque. He is meeting Vice President Jusuf Kalla on the 2nd November in the forenoon. In the afternoon the Vice President is expected to call on the President of Indonesia His Excellency Mr. Joko Widodo. The Foreign Minister of Indonesia will call on the Vice President on the same day. And in the evening, Vice President will deliver a public lecture.

On the 3rd of November, along with his counterpart, Vice President is expected to inaugurate the Business Forum meeting in the forenoon. And soon thereafter he will visit the Parliament of Indonesia where he will have meetings with Speakers of the two Houses of the Indonesian Parliament.

He would then leave for Bali in the afternoon of 3rd November where he will meet with the Governor of the Province. He is also slated to unveil a bust of Mahatma Gandhiji at the Udayana University, and then address the students. And he leaves for Brunei from Bali in the afternoon of 4th November. That is as far as Indonesia is concerned.

May I, with your permission, now go on to the visit to Brunei? Vice President would be traveling to Brunei at the invitation of Crown Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, Brunei Darussalam. This will be from 4 to 6 November. This will be the first ever visit to Brunei at the level of Vice President or we have not had a visit at the level of Prime Minister or President in the past. So this is the first since the establishment of diplomatic relations.

In the recent times, India established diplomatic relations with Brunei and sent a Ministerial delegation to attend the Independence Day celebrations of Brunei. This happened in 1984. The Sultan of Brunei has paid a state visit to India twice – once in September 1992 which was the first visit and then again in 2008. Subsequently, the Indian Resident Diplomatic Mission was opened in Bandar Seri Begawan in 1993.

Sultan of Brunei His Majesty Haji Hassanal Bolkiah had last visited India in 2012. He had then participated in the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit which was held in New Delhi. Our former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had participated in the 11th ASEAN-India Summit and the 8th East Asia Summit which was held in Brunei in 2013. But there has been no bilateral visit. Our Prime Minister Mr. Modi has also met with the Sultan of Brunei in November 2014 in Nay Pyi Taw in Myanmar.

Brunei has become an important partner for India in ASEAN. Brunei played an important role as India-ASEAN Coordinator from 2013 to 2015. Our bilateral trade has grown over the years, although it is still much below potential. Trade volume between India and Brunei is around USD 1 billion. Brunei is an important resource country for our oil and gas requirements.

The main imports of course from Brunei are crude oil and petroleum products, followed by organic chemicals, metal ores and scrap. India is the third largest destination for exports of Brunei. India contributes about 10 per cent of the total exports of Brunei. Our main exports on the other hand to Brunei consist of transport equipment followed by meat and meat products and gems and jewelry.

We have about 10,000 people from India, Indian community which lives in Brunei. There is tremendous goodwill and respect for the Indian professionals, particularly teachers and doctors, in Brunei.

A little bit about the programme in Brunei. As mentioned earlier, His Royal Highness Haji Al-Muhtadi Billah, the Crown Prince, will host the Vice President during the visit and he will have an audience also with His Majesty Haji Hassanal Bolkiah who is the Sultan of Brunei. The Vice President will also address the Indian community at a reception. He will deliver an address at the University of Brunei Darussalam.

Also discussions will be held on cooperation in specific sectors such as civil aviation, trade and investment, hydrocarbons, information and communication, space cooperation, also cooperation in ASEAN and East Asia Summit and other multilateral fora.

That is in brief about the two visits. Thank you.

Official Spokesperson: With that the floor is now open for questions. Please restrict yourself to the Vice President’s visits to these two places.

Question: I wonder what is the position of Indonesia and Brunei on the United Nations Security Council and climate change.

Secretary (East): As far as Brunei is concerned, in 2008 Brunei had supported India’s candidature for permanent membership of the UN Security Council during the visit of His Majesty. As far as Indonesia is concerned, you know that Indonesia belongs to the group which does not favour an expansion of UN Security Council permanent memberships for obvious reasons. So, we have not really engaged with Indonesia on that issue. As far as climate change is concerned, we hold similar positions and we work together in most multilateral fora.

Question: The Vice President is going to Indonesia. Will he be raising the issue of extradition of Chhota Rajan who has been caught? And if we have an extradition treaty, has it been ratified?

Secretary (East): On the extradition treaty, we have to exchange the letters for that treaty. In fact those letters of exchange would happen during the visit. But we do not need to have a formal extradition treaty, as you know, for somebody to be sent to another country. There are various other means and arrangements in today’s day and age in which people can be sent to the other country, and this happened before.

Question: Would the issue of Chhota Rajan be taken up?

Secretary (East): Not specifically unless it is required. Because at the moment the issue is on track and our Ministries are in touch with each other.

Question: What is the strength of the Indian diaspora in Indonesia?

Secretary (East): There are 100,000 people who are people of Indian origin who live there. But at the same time, we have 6,600 odd people who work in Indian companies. They are on what is called a work permit and the work permits are allowed for six months at a time. So, they are working there on contractual basis.

Question: There are people who are there for more than five generations. Are they counted in the Indian diaspora?

Secretary (East): Yes, they are counted in the Indian diaspora.

Question: On the Chhota Rajan issue, has the Ministry sought any report or asked for the details?

Secretary (East): This is an issue which the Governments of India, Indonesia and Australia have been in touch with in the past, an issue which was handled through Interpol. There are no further details which are required at the moment because action has been taken as was anticipated so far. If there is a requirement, then of course the Government will take it up further.

Official Spokesperson: Any other question? If not, then this press conference comes to a close. Thank you.


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