Indonesia’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia-Pacific and African Affairs Abdul Kadir Jailani has said that Pakistan and Indonesia have a huge potential to increase economic, trade and diplomatic ties.
In an interview from Jakarta, Jailani told APP that in order to enhance the existing capabilities in bilateral relations, more intensive economic diplomacy was going on and there was already a consensus on that matter.
Trade between the two countries had reached $4 billion with more potential in the future, he voiced hope.
Furthermore, Pakistan and Indonesia were the largest Islamic countries in terms of population with a combined population of 500 million, “indicating the potential market for economic and trade cooperation, which can open new avenues of partnerships”.
The minister cited that there was already a preferential trade agreement (PTA), which would help to push free trade.
“Pakistan is an important country due to its strategic geographical location, which shares its borders with Central Asia, Middle East and China, while Indonesia will provide Pakistan a gateway for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) bloc,” he pointed out.
“Pakistan is also willing to give Indonesia market access to its region on which consensus exists between the two sides.”
He called on private sectors of both countries to come closer through dialogue so that the two economies could get better outcomes by connecting with each other.
Replying to a question, the Indonesian minister said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was an important project in which Jakarta was also thinking to invest. “Indonesia is interested in investing in Pakistan’s Special Economic Zones (SEZs),” he elaborated.
In response to another question, Jailani said that after the Covid-19 pandemic, the global supply chain was greatly disrupted, which impacted sectors like health, education as well as people’s livelihoods.
“By connecting with the global supply chain, both countries can improve trade and livelihoods,” he stressed.
The deputy foreign minister clarified that Indonesia did not believe in rivalry anywhere in the world, but “we believe in global economic and trade integration”.
“We attach importance to economic and trade integration among Asean member countries and their economic relations with the rest of the world are extremely important.”
Regarding promotion of tourism in Pakistan and Indonesia, he called Pakistan a very beautiful country with natural beauty and noted many opportunities of cooperation in tourism between the two countries.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2022.
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