Joko Widodo President of Indonesia Visits Pakistan

Pakistan and Indonesia share deep political, cultural, religious ties and respect for democratic values. Being the largest countries in the Islamic world, both the nations stand together for their progress, prosperity, stability, security and territorial integrity.

So for the recognition of prosperity, stability, security and territorial integrity, The President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, along with his wife Mrs. Iriana Widodo, paid a State visit to Pakistan on 26-27th January 2018. President Joko Widodo was received at the airport by President Mamnoon Hussain and the First Lady was presented with a guard of honour at the Prime Minister’s House. President of Pakistan hosted a Banquet in honour of the Indonesian President and the First Lady.

A three-ship formation of JF-17 Thunder led by Wing Commander Kashif Kamal, flying at an altitude of 500 feet, presented salute to the visiting dignitary with marvelous display of flypast, emitting sound and smoke.

The Indonesian president was also introduced to federal ministers including Muhammad Pervaiz Malik, Sardar Awais Khan Leghari, Jam Kamal Khan, advisor on finance Miftah Ismail, foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua and others present during the ceremony.

As a special gesture to the democratically elected leader of the largest Islamic Country, President Widodo was invited to address the Joint Session of the Parliament. He graciously consented.

“Conflicts and wars will benefit no one. I repeat, conflicts and wars will benefit no one. The people, mainly women and children, always become the most impacted ones in conflicts and wars,” President Widodo said, while addressing the joint sitting of the parliament.

Referring to the challenges of terrorism, he said no country was immune to it. “Muslims are the biggest victim of terrorism, 76 per cent of terrorist attacks took place in Muslim countries. Besides, 60 per cent of armed conflicts happened in Muslim countries and 67 per cent refugees come from Muslim countries,” Widodo explained.

He said that besides impacting the people, the conflicts and wars also destroyed the values of humanity.

Widodo, who started his speech with slogan of ‘Pakistan Zindabad (Long Live Pakistan)’, also strongly advocated for democracy believing that “Democracy is the best way serving our people’s interests. Democracy provides the space for the people in decision-making process.” President Widodo said, in 1963, President Soekarno ignited the spirit to fight against colonialism as well as the spirit of cooperation between newly-independent countries. “Fifty-five years later, the President of the Republic of Indonesia is honoured once again to speak before the Parliament of Pakistan,” he said.

“I would like to use this opportunity to ignite cooperation for the world’s peace and prosperity. He was only the second president of Indonesia who addresses the Joint Sitting of the Parliament. Before him, President of Indonesia Dr Ahmed Soekarno had addressed the National Assembly of Pakistan on June 26, 1963.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Indonesian President Widodo held in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and a wide range of international and regional issues of shared interest. The two sides agreed to maintain close high-level exchanges, which would provide guidance to the sustainable development of our bilateral relationship and agreed to further enhance strategic communication and coordination to safeguard their common interests.

Pakistan and Indonesia agreed to strengthen defense and security cooperation, including through training of defense personnel and cooperation between their respective defense educational institutions. It was agreed to establish a Joint Committee under the bilateral Agreement on Defence Cooperation.

To Counter Terrorism, both countries leaders agreed to intensify counter- terrorism cooperation and agreed to support each other in building their respective anti-terrorism capabilities. Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahid Khaqan Abbasi briefed President Widodo on Pakistan’s counter terrorism efforts.

Both leaders noted that bilateral trade has crossed $ 2 billion mark in last three years. But there is need to improve the trade imbalance. They also agreed that there is need to increase two-way investments to diversify and expand economic ties. The two sides acknowledged that there is considerable untapped potential to expand trade taking advantage of the PTA. It was also noted that three rounds of PTA Review have successfully taken up matters and efforts are being made to narrow the trade deficit.

The two leaders underscored the importance of cooperation at the multilateral forums. They agreed to work closely on major regional and global issues, and continue to work with mutual coordination and cooperation in important regional forums including Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and the ASEAN Regional Forum. Indonesia reiterated its support for Pakistan’s bid for Full Dialogue Partnership with ASEAN.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi briefed President Widodo on Pakistan’s efforts to enhance regional connectivity and development including through China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He underscored that CPEC and other mega infrastructural projects offer vast opportunities. President Widodo welcomed this initiative.

Both sides recognized that Afghan led and Afghan owned peace process is a must for the stability and development in Afghanistan. Prime Minister Abbasi briefed President Widodo on Pakistan’s efforts to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. He also appreciated Indonesia’s desire to assist Afghanistan in peace and reconciliation, which is vital for regional security.

Prime Minister Abbasi briefed President Widodo on the steps taken by Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues with India including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir. He highlighted the grave human rights situation in IOK.

The two leaders reaffirmed to strengthen brotherly relations between Indonesia and Pakistan and expressed their hope to utilize the visit of President Widodo to further cement these ties. The two leaders pledged to remain in close contact with each other.

Both President Mamoon Hussain and Prime Minister Abbasi asked for the personal intervention of President Widodo to give humanitarian consideration to the case of Zulfiqar Ali, a gravely ill Pakistani held in Indonesia. Pakistan and Indonesia signed four (MoU)s for cooperation in energy, trade, training and education sectors, according to Radio Pakistan. The MoUs were related to import of LNG and POL products from Indonesia, additional protocol on Preferential Trade Agreement for twenty new tariff lines and trade facilitation. The 4th MoU was signed between Foreign Service academy and centre for training and education of Indonesia in the field of training.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Indonesian President Joko Widodo also witnessed the signing ceremony.

Moreover, Pakistan-Indonesia relation-ships are particularly special, founded on common mutual religious outlook. Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim- majority country, whereas Pakistan is the world’s second most populous Muslim-majority country. Both countries are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Developing 8 Countries. Pakistan has an embassy in Jakarta, whereas Indonesia has an embassy in Islamabad, and a Consulate General in Karachi. According to a 2014 BBC World Service Poll, 40% of Indonesians view Pakistan’s influence positively, with 31% expressing a negative view, making Indonesia (along with Nigeria) the country with the most positive perception of Pakistan in the world.

While in Defence corporation Pakistan has signed a memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation (DCA). One of the key terms of the DCA is an offer for Indonesia to take part in joint-manufacturing between Pakistan and China of the JF-17 fighter jet. Indonesia and Pakistan also exchange military personnel for training.

The Bilateral trade between Pakistan and Indonesia is worth around US$1 billion. Pakistani exports to Indonesia include seafood, textiles, cotton yarn, medical equipment, rice, wheat and carpets while Indonesia exports palm oil to Pakistan.

In 2016, the trade volume between Pakistan and Indonesia reached 2.3 billion dollars.

Pakistan’s relationship with Indonesia greatly developed under Gen. Ayub Khan. During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Indonesia offered to provide Pakistan with military help, and ‘to seize Andaman and Nicobar Islands’ of India to distract it from the Kashmir front.

On 8 May 2015, the spouse of Indonesian ambassador for Pakistan, Heri Listyawati Burhan Muhammad, was killed in a helicopter crash in the mountainous northern region of Gilgit. While her husband, Burhan Muhammad, ambassador of Indonesia, was among the injured, and later died because of his wounds in a hospital in Singapore on 19th May. The crash also killed other diplomats, which include the ambassadors of Norway and the Philippines to Pakistan, as well as the spouse of the Malaysian diplomat.

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About Leyla 15 Articles
The writer is Head of International Affairs Desk at Mélange Int’l Magazine & Center of Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR).