PM calls for economic accord with Indonesia, wider trade

Jakarta, Oct 10 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday called for a comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with Indonesia, saying that such an accord would open up the potential on both sides and provide impetus to growth.

The prime minister, who arrived here Thursday night on the second leg of his Southeast Asian visit, said he was looking forward to deepen the strategic content of the bilateral relationship and broaden people-to-people linkages.

In an interview with the Kompass, Indonesia's largest circulated newspaper, he invited Indonesian companies to invest in India's infrastructure sector.

"I invite Indonesian companies to look at the immense investment opportunities that India offers in the infrastructure, logistics, hospitality, and service sectors," he said.

The prime minister emphasized the need to diversify the trade basket between the countries as India's imports from Indonesia have largely been from extractive industries.

"We should diversify our trade basket, resolve impediments to trade and investment and encourage higher flow of investments in both directions," he said, adding India could be a significant source for a broad range of goods, including agro-products, automobile components, engineering goods, IT, pharmaceuticals and biotech products.

The prime minister said that dynamic emerging economies such as India and Indonesia should share their development experiences and expertise as those can be more relevant and effective in promoting economic development.

During the prime minister's visit, both countries will sign a number of MoUs, reflecting the multi-dimensional character of the relationship. Some of these are between ministries and agencies, and others between educational and training institutions.

(Saroj Mohanty can be contacted at saroj.m@ians.in)