Jakarta, Nov 3 (IANS) Vice President Hamid Ansari on Tuesday described India and Indonesia as the two largest emerging economies that are posed to expand existing commercial relations.
“I am very happy to be here today at this gathering of captains of trade and industry from India and Indonesia, the two largest emerging economies of the world,” he said addressing the Indonesia-India Business Forum.
The forum was attended by Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla and business leaders from India and Indonesia.
Ansari said engagement between India and Indonesia remained vibrant and economic and commercial cooperation occupies prominent position in the bilateral discussions.
He said he found a strong desire in the Indonesian leadership to expand commercial engagement with India.
“The market liberalisation of India in the 1990s followed by calibrated economic reforms in the past decade has led to sustainable economic growth and socio-economic development,” he said.
“India’s economy registered a growth of 7 percent in the last quarter which is one of the highest rates globally. The fast rate of urbanisation and the growth of a large, aspirational middle class in India, coupled with a youthful population make India one of the most attractive markets in the world today.”
The Indian vice president emphasised that India has launched its flagship programme ‘Make in India’ for ease of doing business through simplification of existing rules and regulations.
“The initiative has made a tremendous impact on the investment climate in India,” he said.
“Realising the need for enhancing the economic and strategic cooperation with countries in Southeast Asia, India launched the ‘Look East Policy’ in 1991. Last year, the prime minister of India envisaged a more proactive ‘Act East Policy’ aimed at rapidly scaling up our cooperation with Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member countries in crucial areas,” Ansari stated.
Infrastructure development and energy security are key areas for cooperation for emerging economies like India and Indonesia, he added.
“With vibrant democratic rule, Indonesia’s vast economic potential is ready to take off. The large economy, an improving investment climate, a young and technically trained work force, and abundant natural resources make Indonesia a natural partner for India,” he said.
However, the vice president said that while India and Indonesia shared cordial political relations, the bilateral trade and investments have not realised its full potential.
“India is the largest buyer of crude palm oil from Indonesia and also imports coal, minerals, rubber, pulp and hydrocarbon in significant quantities.
“India exports refined petroleum products, maize, commercial vehicles, telecommunication equipment, oil seeds to Indonesia. There is a need to balance our bilateral trade as India’s import from Indonesia was $15 billion against an export of $4 billion in 2014-15,” he said.
According to Ansari, there is a considerable potential for expanding trade in the areas of automotive components, automobiles, engineering products, IT, pharmaceuticals, bio-technology and healthcare sectors.
“Our societies are still largely agrarian,” he said.
“Therefore, agricultural industry, food processing and related small and medium enterprises offer opportunities for trade and investment which could be explored by our business houses with the support from the governments.”
He said India’s expertise and proven capabilities in production of pharmaceuticals, especially generic medicines at affordable cost, advancement in healthcare sectors and science and technology, high quality education at reasonable cost could also be potential areas of investments by both sides.