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India, Indonesia scale up ties to Strategic Partnership: PM declares 30-day free visa


Jakarta, Making a significant forward march in bilateral relationship, India and Indonesia on Wednesday pledged to work as more dependable partners upgrading the ties to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and also pledged to emerge as a united force of stability in the region. Both sides also adopted a 'Shared Vision of India-Indonesia Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific' with a "strong belief" that the two countries could develop further cooperation in maritime sector. Addressing a gathering of Indian diaspora at the spacious Jakarta Convention Centre, Prime Minister Modi invited Indian diaspora to visit India. He also announced a 30-day free visa for Indonesian citizens. "Not only do the names of our nations rhyme but also there is a distinct rhythm in the India-Indonesia friendship," he said urging Indonesia people to visit India. Amid applause, he announced: "We will grant free of cost visa for Indonesian citizens for travel of up to 30 days". "Many of you may never have been to India. I invite you all to come to India for the Kumbh in Prayag next year," he said. On his maiden visit to Indonesia for a two-day tour, Prime Minister Modi was accorded a red carpet welcome on his arrival at the Merdeka Palace. Mr Modi and his host Indonesian President Joko Widodo had a tete-e-tete before the delegation-level talks. Among his other engagements, Mr Modi visited Jakarta's famous Istiqlal Mosque along with Indonesian President Joko Widodo. "Glad to have visited the Istiqlal Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world," Mr Modi tweeted. The two countries inked 15 agreements including one on defence cooperation after extensive talks between two leaders and also at the delegation level. In a joint press statement after the talks, the two sides reaffirmed the commitment in the field of defence, with the signing of Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) between two countries. "The Agreement will further strengthen and renew the existing cooperation for the mutual benefit of the two countries and the region," the statement said. In the area of defence industry, both PM Modi and President Widodo took note on the progress made through the joint production of military equipment and also "identified cooperation in defence industry and technology as areas of great potential".Both sides also pledged to promote cooperation in capacity building for maritime safety. Among the announcements, it was stated that Tata from India and PT Pindad in Indonesia will collaborate for supply of TATA trucks. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) will open its first overseas Office in Jakarta, Indonesia with its representative from India and a Letter of Intent also inked (earlier in April 2018) for twinning of Bali and Uttarakhand – under sister province arrangement, MEA sources said. Prime Minister Modi said that India's Act East Policy and the vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for all in the Region) matches President Widodo's Maritime Fulcrum Policy. He also said that India and Indonesia will double their efforts to take bilateral trade to USD 50 billion by 2025. "The main focus of our government is corruption free, citizen centric and development friendly eco system," Mr Modi said in his address to the Indian diaspora. Earlier during a joint press conference with President Widodo, Prime Minister Modi described his host as a very good friend of India. Prime Minister condemned the recent terror attacks in Indonesia and said at this juncture of sadness and challenges, India stands shoulder to shoulder with Indonesia. At a joint press conference with Indonesian President Widodo, Mr Modi said such terror strikes only make it clear once again that: "in order to fight terror - there is need to work together globally". Earlier this month, three separate locations in the city of Surabaya were hit by the bombings.On way to Singapore, Prime Minister will make a brief halt at Malaysia and also meet his counterpart Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. On Thursday, Mr Modi will visit the India-Singapore enterprise and innovation exhibition and also address a business and community event followed by a round-table meeting with select top CEOs of Singapore.

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