India and Indonesia FMs discuss Aceh-Andaman, Myanmar and Afghanistan connectivity | India News
New Delhi: Indian Foreign Minister Dr S Jaishankar and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on Wednesday discussed various issues including connectivity of Aceh and Andaman Nicobar Islands.
During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Indonesia in 2018, among several agreements, the two parties decided to cooperate on connectivity between Andaman Island and Nicobar and Aceh province in Indonesia.
The port of Sabang in Aceh is just 90 nautical miles from the Indian islands of Andaman and Nicobar. During the 2018 visit, it was also decided to set up a joint working group to undertake port infrastructure projects in and around Sabang by the two neighboring countries. It is important to note that Sabang sits at the entrance to the Straits of Malacca, considered to be the world’s main choke point. Being one of the most important shipping lanes, any traffic stoppage here can impact countries like China where most of its energy trade passes through the Strait.
During the conversation, the two sides discussed the covid crisis, the situation in Myanmar and Afghanistan. Indonesia, as a member of ASEAN, was concerned about developments in Myanmar, as was New Delhi. Myanmar suffered a coup in February last year with the arrest of political leaders and reports of widespread violence in the country. In Afghanistan, as in India, Indonesia has been a key stakeholder. In fact, Indonesia’s foreign minister was the only female foreign minister at last month’s Islamic Cooperation Organization foreign ministers meeting in Islamabad on Afghanistan.
Discussions also focused on the Covid crisis. Indonesia reached out to India during the second wave of the crisis last year, later India sent support to the country when it was hit by the pandemic. The Indian Navy had delivered containers of liquid medical oxygen (OMT) to the country as part of the Sagar mission. The two countries are also part of the G20 troika. Indonesia will host the G20 summit this year and hand over to India who will chair the group next year. India will host the G20 summit for the first time in 2023 with the construction of the venues happening at a rapid pace in the national capital New Delhi.