India, Indonesia review challenges in forging connectivity between Andaman, Aceh
The meeting of the India-Indonesia joint task force to develop connectivity between India’s strategic Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Aceh was held in Port Blair
NEW DELHI: India and Indonesia on Monday assessed the challenges faced in developing connectivity between the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Aceh province as part of efforts to boost trade and tourism between the two countries.
The matter figured in the second meeting of the joint task force created by the two sides to develop connectivity between India’s strategic Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Aceh. The meeting was held in Port Blair on Monday.
Officials of the countries discussed ways to promote trade, tourism and people-to-people contacts between Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Aceh to unleash the economic potential of both regions. They also reviewed the status of projects for development of port-related infrastructure in and around Sabang in Aceh, the external affairs ministry said in a statement.
At the meeting, the heads of the two delegations “took stock of the progress made and the challenges faced in developing connectivity” between Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Aceh since the first meeting of the joint task force in 2019, the statement said.
The joint task force agreed to enhance opportunities for interaction between business chambers and potential investors on both sides in order to improve trade and investment. Given the revival of international tourism after the Covid-19 pandemic, the two sides also agreed to encourage sail tourism, cruise ship visits and interaction between tour operators.
In the context of rich marine resources in the region, the two sides further agreed to cooperate in the capacity building of fishing operators and to learn from each other’s experiences.
The joint task force also discussed ways to enhance academic cooperation and cultural linkages between Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Aceh.
The development of connectivity between Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Aceh is a key element of the “Shared Vision of Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific”, which was finalised in May 2018 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
This document committed the two sides to work towards boosting tourism in the Andaman Sea by improving connectivity between Sabang Island and Port Blair and Havelock Island in Andaman.
The Indian delegation at Monday’s meeting was led by Vishvas Sapkal, joint secretary (South) in the external affairs ministry, and the Indonesian team was led by Jatmiko H Prasetyo, director for South and Central Asian affairs in the foreign ministry. The third meeting of the joint task force will be held in Aceh in 2023.
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