Indian diaspora engagement meets held in Indonesia

Jakarta, July 18 (IANS) The Indian embassy in Jakarta organised two events in association with India's Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC) this month to acquaint overseas Indians in Indonesia with business opportunities in India.

Called Indian Diaspora Engagement Meets, the first event was held at Medan, the capital of the Indonesian province of North Sumatra July 16, and the second event was held in Indonesian capital Jakarta July 18.

The objective of these events was to acquaint non-resident Indians (NRIs) and persons of Indian origin (PIOs) in Indonesia with the various trade and investment opportunities in India which could benefit their businesses and at the same time improve trade ties between the two countries, according to a statement issued by the Indian embassy in Jakarta.

The events also sought to strengthen the Indian diaspora's engagement with India's growth story and provide a platform to synergise linkages in the economic, social and cultural fields.

The event in Medan was inaugurated by Governor of North Sumatra, Gatot Pujonugroho, who sought more investment by Indian companies in palm oil plantation and infrastructure.

India's Ambassador to Indonesia Gurjit Singh said that, though bilateral trade was booming in recent years, it was time to move over to the 'next frontier' by increasing and diversifying cross investments.

Ambassador Singh, while mentioning that high-level Indian business delegations would be visiting Indonesia, also requested the Indonesian government to organise visits by similar business delegations from Indonesia to India.

Rajiv Mehrishi, secretary in the MOIA, spoke about the Indian government's deep commitment to engage PIOs with the land of their ancestors.

Panel discussions were held on the subject of doing business in India and Sumatra and enhancing business contacts between the two sides.

The second event in Jakarta July 18 was inaugurated by H.S. Dillon, Indonesia's presidential special envoy on poverty alleviation.

Panel discussions were held on the role of the Indian diaspora in Indonesian economy and strengthening of economic relations between India and Indonesia.

While mentioning about the historical ties between India and Indonesia, Dillon recalled how India was the first country to recognise Indonesia as a free nation and the pivotal roles played by India's first prime minster Jawaharlal Nehru and Indonesia's first president Sukarno in the 1955 Bandung Conference, the historic meeting between newly independent Asian and African nations.

Ambassador Singh, while stating that the Indian diaspora has made significant contributions to the Indonesian economy over the years, said that the profile of the diaspora has shifted to high growth areas such as service and investment industry.

The presence of major Indian companies in Indonesia like Tata, Reliance, Essar, TVS, Adnani, and Indo Rama with significant investment in coal, oil, synthetics, power, and motor vehicles speaks volumes on the confidence reposed in the Indonesian economy, Singh said.

The ambassador also said that Indian companies in Indonesia not only created more jobs but also created local capacity, import substitution and contributed to Indonesian exports.

The MOIA had set up the OIFC in 2007 with the objective of helping the Indian diaspora connect better with India and assist them in deepening their economic and intellectual engagement with India.

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