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India-Indonesia naval cooperation stepped up significantly: Ina Krisnamurthi

Indonesian ambassador Ina Krisnamurthi speak to HT on India-Indonesia naval cooperation, maritime security across Indian Ocean, G20, Ukraine war and so on.

Indonesia has significantly stepped up naval cooperation with India, including joint exercises and port visits by warships, as part of Jakarta’s focus on maritime security across the Indian Ocean, Indonesian ambassador Ina Krisnamurthi has said.

With Indonesia the current president of G20 and India set to take over the position in December, Jakarta and New Delhi are working closely at the highest levels like “never before” to manoeuvre through an increasingly fluid and dynamic global scenario in the aftermath of the Ukraine war, Krisnamurthi said in an exclusive interview.

“For the first time in the history of our bilateral relations, we have a very senior officer – a commodore from the navy – as the defence attaché. It is very clear that it is being further strengthened to the level that maybe in one or two years, we will have a full-fledged defence attaché here with (officers from) the air force and army. Now we are strengthening cooperation with the navy first,” she said.

For the first time, India and Indonesia will conduct two joint exercises in 2022, instead of just one wargame, and there have been about six port visits since March. Following a trip to Jakarta by India’s national security adviser, Indonesia’s coordinating minister will visit India soon, she said.

Krisnamurthi said the issue of enhancing security cooperation with India was postponed for too long because of Indonesia’s earlier focus on the Pacific Ocean. “I think we need to take care of the Indian Ocean more…in cooperation with the ministry of external affairs. We also organised something with the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) because we want to start thinking about more on the Indian Ocean, not only as passing through Suez [or] Africa…it really needs to be dealt with in a very serious manner because the Indian Ocean is very substantial for us,” she said.

Amid growing concerns about the fallout of the Ukraine war affecting consensus within the G20 grouping, Krisnamurthi said India and Indonesia are working in close coordination for the bloc’s upcoming summit to be held in Bali in November.

“I have said that never before at the highest levels, we have had such a very close relationship on a daily basis because the global dynamics are very fluid. That is why coordination between the top management of countries such as ours is very important to manoeuvre the dynamics,” she said.

In the context of Indonesia’s invitation to both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to attend the G20 Summit, the envoy said the presence of both leaders at the meeting will be a sign of hope for the international community.

“I think what we want is not attendance but for everyone to sit together and think about what will happen to the world, to the management of the world…To see the leaders sit down together now, it’s also a challenge,” she added.

“So if they come and sit together with the other leaders, that’s a plus. That’s hope, just to give a hope that everyone will sit at the same table, thinking about the future of the earth,” Krisnamurthi said, adding that the invitation to both leaders that Indonesia and other emerging economies “remain neutral in managing a prime framework such as G20, that we set aside one issue in one certain area or certain region, and think about the future of the earth.”

All the key preparatory meetings held ahead of the G20 Summit have ended without joint statements or consensus outcomes because of differences over the Ukraine war, though Krisnamurthi said implementation of policies is more important than consensus.

“Consensus outcome is one thing, but first, continuity of discussions on certain issues is more important than the consensus…If you remember (at) the beginning of the (Ukraine) war, the word boycott was used by some, (but) it didn’t happen. That’s a positive way of looking at what happened with our presidency…I think consensus in joint communiqués is not as important as implementation of the policy itself,” she said.

Source: Hindustan Times