A meeting of the Joint Task Force “India-Indonesia Investment and Business Forum” was held in Port Blair on Tuesday to identify new areas of cooperation, develop infrastructure, tourism, trade and connectivity to improve business relations.
India is interested in boosting trade and tourism with Indonesia, especially in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands due to its lesser distance from most ports in India.
The Indonesian port of Sabang in Aceh is about 90 nautical miles from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. From Port Blair, the distance from Chennai and Kolkata is 794 nautical miles and 901 nautical miles respectively.
Thus goods procured from Indonesia would be cheaper in Andaman than goods imported from Chennai and Calcutta as the cost of transport would be lower.
The meeting with Indonesian delegates was attended by Lieutenant Governor Andaman and Nicobar DK Joshi, Director of South and Central Asian Affairs, Government of Indonesia, Jatmiko Heru Prasetyo, MEA Joint Secretary Vishvas Sapkal, officials said, among other delegates.
This is the second meeting of the Task Force. The first meeting was held in Jakarta on 25 November 2019.
The delegates discussed the opportunities available for investment in the infrastructure sector in Banda Aceh and Sabang Free Port in Indonesia and in other sectors such as tourism, fisheries and maritime transport, officials said.
During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Indonesia in 2018, he called on both sides to form a Joint Task Force to promote bilateral investment.
Andaman and Nicobar MP Kuldeep Sharma told PTI that the meeting will benefit both nations as it will generate revenue and employment.