India-Indonesia interfaith dialogue in October

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Jakarta, July 31 (IANS) The first India Indonesia Interfaith Dialogue (IIID) will be held on October 3-5 in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta, the Indian Embassy here said on Tuesday.

The next steps to convening the IIID were discussed during a visit by Indian Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar to this southeast Asian nation from July 28 to 31, according to an embassy statement.

Akbar’s visit comes after the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Indonesia in May this year.

Akbar met Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi here on Monday.

“They discussed ways to ensure a substantive and outcome-oriented meeting of the First Interfaith Dialogue between India and Indonesia, as well as bilateral and multilateral issues,” the statement said.

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“It was agreed to host the first IIID on October 3-5 in the historic city of Yogyakarta – a powerful symbol of Indonesia’s syncretic culture.”

Indonesia is home to the world’s largest Muslim population.

According to the statement, Akbar also met Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Gen. (Retd). Wiranto Monday and exchanged ideas for involving key stakeholders from both sides in the upcoming IIID.

“Both leaders reiterated their commitment to early reconvening of the second round of India Indonesia Security Dialogue later this year in Indonesia,” it stated.

“They agreed that it was as important to win the argument in the mind as to defeat terrorism in its chosen battlefields.”

Akbar also conveyed the Indian government’s deepest condolences to the Indonesian government on the loss of 14 lives at the earthquake in the tourist island of Lombok on July 29.

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He also met with Haider Nashir, Chairman of Muhammadiah, and K.H. Said Aqil Siradj, Chairman of Nahldatul Ulama, which are Indonesia’s largest independent Islamic organisations and discussed steps to increase academic and educational exchanges amongst scholars from their organizations with appropriate counterpart institutions in India.

“Both organizations agreed to work in appropriate cooperation with India to spread the message of pluralism and harmony between different faiths,” the embassy statement said.

On Tuesday, Akbar met Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Agus Widjojo, Governor of Lemhannas, which is Indonesia’s premier training institution for senior leadership of its defence forces.

“Both sides discussed ways and means to deepen defence exchanges and institutionalise cooperation between defence institutes and think tanks of India and Indonesia,” the statement said.

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During the course of his visit, Akbar also met members of IndCham in Jakarta, which is a leading association of Indian corporate entities and business leaders having interests in promoting economic and trade relations between Indonesia and India.

He encouraged them to work on deepening bilateral investments and called for creative thinking to augmenting tourism flows from Indonesia to India.

–IANS

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