NEW DELHI: The world’s first and second most populous Muslim countries have joined hands to combat terrorism and to play an important role based on their plural fabric in a region torn by extremism and radicalisation.
Indonesia President Joko Widodo, on his first visit to India after 2014 elections, held discussions with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the two decided to deepen their cooperation in the field of maritime security as well besides boosting trade links. The bilateral ties with Indonesia fall under the rubric of Modi government’s Act East Policy.
The two countries, in a joint statement, expressed “zero tolerance” for acts of terror. Indonesia with the world’s largest population has been successful in keeping religious extremism and radicalisation at bay; while supporting democratic and plural form of government.
Indonesia, the largest archipelago in the world with over 7,000 islands has strategic importance for India as its straddles between Indian and Pacific Ocean overlooking the important sea lanes of communication.
The Joint Statement had messages for both China and Pakistan and duly weaved in the concerns of New Delhi and Jakarta. Both Widodo and Modi, in an obvious reference to China, called upon all world countries to implement the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 for designating terrorists. China has refused to budge from its position of “technical hold” on putting Jaish-e-Mohammad Chief Masood Azhar in the list of proscribed global terrorists.
In a reference meant for Pakistan, the two countries asked to clamp down terror networks and squeezing their finances. The two countries vowed to combat transnational terrorism emanating from their territory by “effective criminal justice” and countering “terror, organised crime, drugs, human trafficking, money laundering and arms smuggling”.
“Both countries underscored the importance they attach to democracy and pluralism emanating from their common heritage of Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. In a region torn by radicalism and extremism, both countries recognized the important role that they can play in this regard,” sources said.
With Indonesia involved in an imbroglio over South China Sea with China, India lent its support in the resolution of the problem through peaceful means within the ambit of the international maritime law of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea).
In a symbolic of the new grounds being found between the two countries, the Indonesian carrier Garuda started its direct flight form Mumbai to Jakarta on Monday.