New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indonesian President Joko Widodo held talks in Jakarta on Wednesday following which the two countries decided to "establish a New Comprehensive Strategic Partnership" and announced setting up of "a Joint Task Force to undertake projects for port related infrastructure in and around Sabang"(a strategically-located Indonesian island at the northern tip of Sumatra near the Malacca Straits to which New Delhi will now gain access).
Sources said India is only the second country after China with which Indonesia has established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
It was also decided to boost connectivity between Sabang island and India’s Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar islands which are a few hundred nautical miles apart.
While the development of the strategically-located port is expected to benefit India economically, there is however no official word on whether this could translate in the future to Indian military access to the port.
Crucial global shipping lines pass through the Malacca Straits. The move to enhance ties with Jakarta is significant, given increased Chinese assertiveness in south-east Asia.
Significantly, both countries also issued a "Shared Vision of India-Indonesia Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific" to "strengthen the existing security architecture in the Indo-Pacific".
The two nations also inked 15 pacts including a defence one for "consultation on strategic defence and military issues of common interest and exchange of strategic information".
The two leaders also "agreed to hold Annual Summit meetings....