PM Modi in Indonesia on first leg of maritime nations’ visit; ties taken to next level

All of the three nations are part of the ASEAN bloc

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a tour of the eastern nations of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, all maritime nations.

While India and Indonesia elevated their bilateral ties to that of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with decision to step up defence and maritime cooperation, there is also plan to develop a strategic Indonesian naval port in the Indian Ocean.

All of the three nations are part of the ASEAN bloc.

The visit is also being seen in view of the rising influence of China in the region and especially in the South China sea.

On Wednesday morning, PM Modi held bilateral discussions with Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

In a joint statement, the leaders stressed on the need for “free, open, transparent, rule-based, peaceful, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region”.

India and Indonesia signed 15 agreements in the fields of defence, science and technological cooperation, railways and health.

India’s access to critical sea routes near Malacca will allow it to track commercial ships in areas where India is worried about the security of the sea lanes of communication in the larger Indo-Pacific area, and Indonesia about Chinese maritime intrusions as well as its attempts to include the island chain in its territorial maps.

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