The link between Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Indonesia’s Aceh province will cement links between the maritime neighbours Delhi and Jakarta and open a new chapter in Indo-Pacific construct amid China’s aggressive policy across the region.
This was common refrain when policy makers, diplomats, industry, media and academia came together in a webinar organized by the Shillong-based Asian Confluence as part of a series on the Bay of Bengal on the Theme “India Indonesia relations: the Andaman Aceh Perspective”, held in collaboration with the ASEAN-India Center and the Center for Maritime Studies, Pondicherry University.
In his comments Indian Ambassador to Indonesia Pradeep Rawat recalled that A&N-Aceh was a forgotten theme until Indian PM in Jan 2018 put this theme on forefront and he asked to travel by ship (maritime neighbours). In Dec. 2018 first ship sailed from Sabang to A-N and the Foreign Minister of Indonesia played a major role in this.
“AN-Aceh has brought this into perspective (neighbours). Service sector, through tech and skill and business sector could bring about some meaningful change,” according to Rawat.
Sidharto Reza Suryodipuro, Ambassador of Indonesia to India expressing similar sentiments stated, “It is demonstration of efforts that is long overdue about India-Indonesia endeavours. Establishment of links between AN-Aceh and Sumatra is long overdue and is important due to broader region of Indo-pacific. It is a period of uncertainty, territorial disputes.”