Indonesia and India to Boost Cooperation

By Kharina Triananda on 08:25 am Aug 27, 2013
Category Business
Naina Lal Kidwai, right, the head of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, has urged Indonesia to ease working visa restrictions. (AFP Photo/Raveendran)

Naina Lal Kidwai, right, the head of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, has urged Indonesia to ease working visa restrictions. (AFP Photo/Raveendran)

Indian know-how in information and communications technology could boost the Indonesian education and health-care sectors, according to industry leaders meeting this week.

Didie Soewondo, deputy chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), said on Monday that representatives from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry had welcomed overtures for cooperation during the meeting.

“India has a comparative advantage in education, including human resources,” Didie said.

He said India’s information and communications technology education was sophisticated, and that Indonesia could learn much from the regional giant.

“Indian information technology experts could help boost the capability of our human resources,” he said.

Didie added that many companies in various sectors in Indonesia needed advanced technology to support their operations. “India could provide such help,” he said.

With India’s ICT sector so large, FICCI president Naina Lal Kidwai concurred that there was room for cooperation.

“Indonesia’s Internet penetration level is higher than India’s. Meanwhile, some 12 million people work in the ICT sector in India,” she said.

Such conditions present an opportunity for benefit for both countries, she added.

Kidwai said that India’s advanced ICT could boost cooperation in the health-care sector, improving public services.

But such cooperation would not run smoothly unless Indonesia made work visas easier for Indian nationals to obtain, she said, adding that Indian doctors prepared to work in the country. Currently foreign doctors are barred from directly practicing medicine in Indonesia.

Potential for cooperation extended beyond education and health to agriculture, especially given India’s position as a leading beef exporter, Didie said.

Indian Ambassador to Indonesia Gurjit Singh, who also attended the meeting, said that Indonesia has become an investment target for Indian companies, highlighting the good political and cultural relations between the two countries.

He noted that with 60 percent of its population below the age of 40 and many large cities, Indonesia is a massive market for companies around the world, including India.

According to Indian government data, total trade between the two countries stood at $20.2 billion in 2012/13, down 6 percent on a year earlier.