Port Blair, Nov 29: The Government and business delegation from Indonesia, led by the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to India, Mr. Sidharto Reza Suryodipuro, who are on a visit to these Islands, participated in the Indonesia-India Seminar and Business Forum, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Indonesia, in association with the Andaman Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ACCI) and the Aceh Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KADIN) at Hotel Mansha Regency, Port Blair today. The Chief Secretary, Andaman & Nicobar Administration, Shri Chetan B Sanghi was the chief guest of the seminar.
Addressing the visiting delegates from Indonesia and the business fraternity from the A&N Islands, the Chief Secretary said that A&N Islands have been waiting for too long to develop better connection with our neighbouring countries in the region. Though Indonesia and A&N Island have a lot of potentials in coming together, not much has been done in the past in this direction. The Chief Secretary informed about the official visit of the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi to Indonesia and his meeting with President of Indonesia, wherein both the leaders underlined the importance of stronger connectivity, particularly on sea links, in order to facilitate economic cooperation and people to people contact between two maritime neighbours and comprehensive strategic partners.
Due to the initiatives of the Prime Minister of India and President of Indonesia, who agreed to raise the bar in creation of depth of our cooperation, further efforts are being made in establishing better relationships in the fields of business and cooperation between A&N and Indonesia, the Chief Secretary said.
Thanking the Indonesian Ambassador for coming to A&N Islands, the Chief Secretary assured that no stone will be left unturned to see that the aspirations and promises that these regions hold, are fructified. The Chief Secretary also informed that recently delegations from countries like Finland and Singapore visited A&N Islands while another high level delegation from Japan will be coming here soon.
The Chief Secretary further informed the gathering that the A&N Administration is working towards facilitating e-visa, visa on arrival etc., keeping in mind the policy of ‘Ease of Doing Business’, so that we are able to establish better business to business and people to people contact with our neighbouring countries in this region. Significant progress has been made in this direction and bottlenecks are also being removed, he said. The Chief Secretary also highlighted about the possibilities and the need for starting of near coastal voyages between A&N and Aceh in Indonesia and also of the prospects of air connectivity between the two places, beginning with introducing smaller aircraft under UDAAN-3 scheme of Govt. of India. “Opening up of the aviation sector in this region is being planned and it will be great to have flights between us”, the Chief Secretary said.
In the fisheries sector, the Chief Secretary informed, A&N Islands has large resources and can look forward for exporting fish to Indonesia while we can also import materials for infrastructure development in A&N Islands. With the IT Sector poised for big leap in A&N Islands by Dec. 2019, when the OFC Undersea Cable Project will be in place, IT enabled services will be developed to a great extent, opening more avenues for youth and business community. Cooperation between two regions in health sector can also be explored, the CS said.
He also underlined the need for organizing such business to business meetings between A&N Islands and Indonesia more frequently.
In his keynote address, the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to India, Mr. Sidharto Reza Suryodipuro stated that people are positive about the prospects of developing connectivity and exchanges of people, goods, and services between these two neighbouring parts of our respective great countries. He also spoke about the factors that has made connecting the dots between Andaman-Nicobar and Aceh, a workable proposition, which include bilateral India-Indonesia relations that have continued to strengthen, both countries are committed to give substance to the ‘rediscovery’ of being ‘maritime neighbours’; large, complex countries such as India-Indonesia need the regions bordering other countries to play a role in strengthening bilateral relations; and that Andaman-Nicobar provides an ideal transit point for Aceh to reach the markets around the Bay of Bengal.
In his opening remarks, the Head of Centre for Policy Analysis & Development on Asia- Pacific & African Regions, Indonesia, Dr. Arifi Saiman informed that there are numerous economic potentials and opportunities which can be explored further by business circles from Aceh & North Sumatra and Andaman & Nicobar Islands, which among others include Tourism, particularly, cruise tourism and eco-tourism; air connectivity and sea connectivity, energy, agriculture/plantation, fishery, education, infrastructure and even outbound investment.
Referring that this business forum is part of series of programmes towards enhancing business connectivity between the two regions, Dr. Saiman said that this programme will reach its momentum by launching of a pioneer commercial vessel expedition from Aceh to Andaman & Nicobar Islands in December, 2018.
Speaking on the occasion, the President ACCI, Shri Girish Arora stated that this seminar and business forum has been organised to facilitate commercial and people to people contact between both the regions. Notifying various ports as customs ports and extending plants quarantine facility to the few important Southern ports of A&N Islands will help develop further trades, he said adding that the e-visa facility which is under active consideration will boost the cruise tourism between these two places.
In his address, the Head of Aceh Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Mr. Mukazir Manaf said that there is great scope for business among these two regions because of its close proximity and conducive environment. Aceh can provide the required materials for infrastructure development in A&N Islands, he added.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Andaman Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Aceh Indonesia Chamber of Commerce & Industry to promote development and bilateral economic relations by providing a platform for businessmen to meet, discuss and explore business opportunities in trade, investment in transfer of technology, service and other industrial sectors, was also signed on this occasion.
Around 30 business delegates from Aceh were present in the business forum to meet their prospective business counterparts here in the A&N Islands. The samples of commodities from Aceh were also on display in the seminar hall.
In the second session of the seminar, presentations were made by Aceh Chamber of Commerce & Industry, First Assistant of Sabang Municipality, Aceh and Andaman Chamber of Commerce & Industries besides a question and answer session was also held.