Interaction of HE Mr. Sidharto R. Suryodipuro, Ambassador of Indonesia with the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), 27 May 2019
Welcome Remarks by Dr Arvind Gupta, Director during the

Dear Friends,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome His Excellency Mr. Sidharto R. Suryodipuro, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to India. We will greatly benefit from listening to his views on bilateral relations as well as the other important developments such as the rise of the concept of Indo-Pacific.

Ambassador Suryodipuro was posted to India in 2017. Prior to that, he was Deputy Chief of Mission at the Indonesian Embassy in the US during 2014-17. He was a director for Intra-Regional Cooperation in the Asia Pacific and Africa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs during 2010-14. He also prepared Indonesia’s strategy for Indonesia’s chairmanship of Indian Ocean RIM Association (IORA) during 2015-17.

Ambassador’s talk takes place at an opportune moment. Both President Joko Widodo Jokovi and Prime Minister Modi have been meeting each other. President Widodo visited India in 2018 for India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit and witnessed the Republic Day Parade as the Guest of Honour. PM Modi visited Indonesia in 2018 at the invitation of President Joko Widodo. Both are India Ocean countries with strong civilizational, historical, and cultural links. India has launched an Act-East Policy and supports the concepts of Indo-Pacific. President Widodo has promoted Indonesia’s ambitious Global Maritime Fulcrum Initiative. There is a need to develop synergy between Act-East Policy and Global Maritime Fulcrum Initiative. India and Indonesia are set to deepen their strategic partnership in the tenures of the reelected leaders.

Last year Prime Minister Modi visited Indonesia. During his visit, the two sides agreed to enhance their strategic partnership and also hold Annual Summit Meetings. Both sides outlined several steps to deepen defence and security, maritime cooperation economic partnership, and people-to-people ties. Several dialogues are underway, and a series of steps have been initiated.

Friends, India and Indonesia are maritime neighbours, critically located in the Indian Ocean. It is surprising that despite many commonalities, the two countries have taken so long to rediscover each other. One hopes that the situation will change under the leadership of the PM Modi and President Jokowi. The regional environment in the Indo-Pacific Region has changed dramatically. The impact of China's rise has been felt by all countries. The US-China rivalry will have an impact on all of us. Indonesia has been spearheading ASEAN efforts to develop a common ASEAN position on the Indo-Pacific. We would request Ambassador to share Indonesia’s view on this important concept.

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