Pratibha Patil arrives in Indonesia on two-day visit | world | Hindustan Times
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Pratibha Patil arrives in Indonesia on two-day visit

world Updated: Nov 30, 2008 14:02 IST
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President Pratibha Patil arrived here today on a two-day visit that is expected to give a new momentum to India's bilateral relations with Indonesia, a key strategic member in the ASEAN grouping.

The President, who was given a warm reception on her arrival here by Indonesian Foreign Minister Noer Hasan Wirajuda, would meet her counterpart Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during which the two leaders are expected to discuss wide range of issues.

Besides delegation level talks, agreements including on sports, oil and gas, agriculture and education are likely to be signed during her visit, which is part of India's "Look East" policy to further expand bilateral ties with its ASEAN neighbours.

Patil, who was earlier scheduled to stay here for five days, cut short her visit by two days in view of terror strikes in Mumbai that claimed 183 lives. She would return to India tomorrow by directly flying to Mumbai to see the injured in the hospitals and have discussions with Maharashtra Governor S C Jamir and Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

The trade volume between the two countries is at present in favour of Indonesia with India's exports to that country is around two billion dollars and imports touching around five billion dollars. India is the largest importer of palm oil from Indonesia at present.

Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Ashwani Kumar said that the agreement on India-ASEAN Trade in Goods, expected to be signed soon, would increase the trade volume in the region.

India exports animal feeds, hydro-carbons, flat rolled steel products, aluminium, ingots of iron/steel in primary forms, dyes and chemicals, sugar, molasses and honey, cotton, telecommunication equipments and copper.

It imports from Indonesia fixed vegetable fats and oils, coal, copper ores, natural rubber, textile yarn, copper ores and concentrate, fruits and nus, petroleum products, pulp and paper and paper board, inorganic chemicals and fertilisers.

Yudhoyono visited India in 2005 when a joint declaration was signed with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the Establishment of a New Strategic Partnership between the two countries.

Both countries have an active defence cooperation in terms of exchange of visits, ship visits and training cooperation.

Bi-annual coordinated joint patrolling between the two countries was initiated in 2002 to check piracy, smuggling and transnational crimes and there have been high level exchanges between the services of the two countries and goodwill visits on Naval ships.