JAKARTA: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held wide-ranging talks with her Indonesian counterpart Gen (Retd) Ryamizard Rycudu during which the two leaders discussed ways to enhance defence cooperation, including strengthening maritime and coastal security.
The meeting between the two leaders on Tuesday comes months after the two countries elevated their bilateral relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
The two sides have also concluded a new Defence Cooperation Agreement in May 2018. The two leaders discussed areas of enhancing cooperation, including strengthening maritime and coastal security, through improved information sharing and conduct of specialised training courses, said an official statement.
They identified defence industries and defence R&D as the potential areas of cooperation.
Both the ministers agreed to set up working groups to boost the bilateral defence engagements and emphasised that these groups should meet at the earliest in India.
Sitharaman reiterated the sustained and mutually beneficial interactions between the two countries as maritime neighbours with a tradition of close political dialogue, economic and trade linkages as well as cultural and people-to-people interactions between the two nations.
She also welcomed Indonesia's support for the proposal to partner India in the Malacca Straits Patrol.
Sitharaman expressed satisfaction on the military-to-military ties and noted that the commencement of bilateral Naval and Air Force exercises, as well as the regular conduct of staff talks between the three services, set a strong foundation for bilateral defence cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries.
She also met Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Gen (Retd) Luhut Panjaitan and Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Gen (Retd) Wiranto.
During these meetings, issues of strategic interest and potential areas of bilateral defence cooperation were discussed and agreed to.
Sitharaman, who arrived here Monday on a two-day visit, also laid a wreath at the memorial in Jakarta for the Indian soldiers who died in Indonesia during World War II.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Indonesia in May during which the two countries signed a pact on defence cooperation and elevated their ties to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.