Andaman-Aceh connectivity key to unlocking India-Indonesia biz potential

India and Indonesia eyeing to reach target of $ 50 bn trade by 2025 are contemplating new areas of investments including through Aceh-Andaman connectivity which would unlock immense business opportunities in a range of sectors, including health care, tourism, energy, construction, agro processing and fisheries.

In partnership with Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Indonesia, the Embassy of India organised an “India Indonesia Investment Business Forum” on Sunday in Jakarta. The event was attended by leaders of the Indian and Indonesian industry and aimed to promote mutual bilateral investments.

The Forum was jointly inaugurated by Ina H Krisnamurthi, Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs on Economic Diplomacy and Pradeep Kumar Rawat, Ambassador of India and lr Nova Iriansyah, Acting Governor of Aceh.

In her remarks, Ina H Krisnamurthi said that the Forum would help bring business communities of both countries together, enabling mutually beneficial economic cooperation. She added that in order to reach the target of US $ 50 billion set for bilateral trade by 2025 both countries need to come up with new areas of cooperation, develop infrastructure and connectivity to provide ways and means to enhance business relations. Ambassador in his address mentioned that establishment of direct connectivity between Aceh and Andaman Nicobar Island would unlock immense business opportunities in a range of sectors, including health care, tourism, energy, construction, agro processing and fisheries. In his keynote address, Acting Governor of Aceh underscored that Aceh was a welcoming place for investors and hoped that the Forum would pave way for greater economic cooperation between Indonesia and India.

Indonesian participating companies included Pt Samudra Indonesia, Pt Hutama Karya, Ankasapura II, Pt Trans Continent, Pt MMC, Pt Wika, Pt Pelindo, and representatives of Kadin Aceh, while Indian companies which participated included GMR, GVK, BHEL, LT, Feedback Infra, Pt Ion Exchange Asia Pacific, Afcons Infrastructure, Tata Motors, Tata Power and SBI.

During the Forum, two sessions were conducted, one focused on investment opportunities in India and Indonesia and other on investment opportunities in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Aceh. Ms. Priya Rawat, Sr AVP of Invest India gave an overview of India as an Investment destination and highlighted the factors that are conducive for FDI and invited Indonesian business and industry to explore various sectors like pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, energy, construction, food and hospitality. Ms. Velly Asvaliantina, Deputy Director of Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs highlighted the positive trends of investment in Indonesia, including synergy between Central and Regional Governments and urged Indian businessmen to explore available opportunities to develop businesses in Indonesia.

Teuku Ardiansyah, Director of Sabang Free Trade Zone (BPKS) listed the opportunities available for investments in infrastructure sector, both in Banda Aceh and Sabang Free Port and Free Trade Zone and hoped that the Forum would pave way for greater synergy between two sides in tapping the potential projects. Mr R Gururaj, Consul General gave an overview of opportunities for investment in Andaman Nicobar Islands, particularly in the sectors of Tourism, Fisheries, Agriculture and Maritime and urged Indonesian business to forge partnerships with Indian companies to tap potential available. A question answer session also took place after each session, which was followed by a B2B Session where participating companies of both sides engaged with each other.

It may be noted that following the d Vision of India-Indonesia Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific released during the visit of Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Jakarta in May 2018, a series of activities aimed at promoting greater business linkages between Andaman and Aceh have been held. These have included the 1st India-Indonesia Investment Forum held in Aceh in July 2018, Focus Group Discussion titled ‘Enhancing Business Connectivity between Aceh and Andaman Nicobar’ in Banda Aceh and visit of 30-member delegation consisting of members of Chamber of Commerce of Aceh to Port Blair, both in November 2018 and visit of a special vessel carrying samples of products and raw material from Aceh to Banda Aceh on 4 January 2019.

The Business Forum aimed to enhance two way investments, both in India and Indonesia and is expected to lead to greater business cooperation between Andaman Nicobar Islands and Aceh.