Pakistan and Indonesia have resolved to expand
bilateral ties in all areas and to initiate the consultation process for
preferential tariff agreement that would ultimately pave the way for a
free trade agreement between the two countries.
This agreement was reached after 2 days of wide
ranging extensive talks at the highest level between Indonesian
President Megawati Soekarnoputri and the President Pervez Musharraf and
the Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali in Islamabad last week. The
strong and high level delegation which accompanied the Indonesian
President held discussion with their respective Pakistani counterparts
and helped their leaders to reach the agreement in different areas to
upgrade their relations.
The Indonesian President has assured President
Musharraf that her country will strongly support Pakistan's entry in the
ASEAN Economic Forum. She hoped that many other countries will also
support the proposal and Pakistan will soon be a member of this regional
The two leaders also agreed to intensify and
facilitate private sector collaboration. The Joint Ministerial
commission and Pak Indonesia economic forum will be strengthened and
made more active to achieve the objectives as the two leaders are
desirous of building a comprehensive economic partnership between the
two countries. Pakistan and Indonesia also agreed to cooperate closely
in promoting enlightened moderation and further intensify their
cooperation in combating terrorism.
A joint official statement issued on the occasion
said, among other thing, while both sides expressed satisfaction on the
excellent relation between Indonesia and Pakistan, they recognized the
need to entrance their economic and commercial ties. Bilateral
cooperation in other areas including defence, science and technology and
banking sectors will also be enhanced.
The need for people to people contact, and exchange
of students and close cooperation in the education also figured in the
talks. Pakistan and Indonesia will also cooperate closely in promoting
enlightened moderation of the Islamic and global plans and further
intensify their cooperation in combating international terrorism.
Pakistan and Indonesia have always enjoyed excellent
relations as the two peoples have deep historical and cultural ties.
Pakistan recalls with a sense of satisfaction that Quaid-i-Azam had
given unstinted support in men and material to Indonesia's founding
father Dr. Ahmed Suoekarno during his struggle to win Indonesia's
freedom. The support that Dr. Suokarno offered to Pakistan in 1965 war
will ever remain a shining example of brotherly ties between the two
countries. Megawati's visit to Islamabad has, in fact, an added
significance since she is the daughter of Dr. Ahmed Suoekarno. The
people of Pakistan hold her in high esteem both as President of a
brotherly country and as daughter of a great friend of Pakistan. It's
hoped that the ties between Pakistan and Indonesia will be further
consolidated with her current visit. The desire expressed by leaders of
the two countries for upgradation of their trade and economic ties will
hopefully lead to further consolidation of relations between the two
Pakistan is an emerging economy and has a strategic
location. Its desire to become member of the ASEAN forum is natural.
Pakistan's participation in the ASEAN will, in fact, add to its weight
both economically and strategically and will expand its economic
political influence in the region to the betterment of the people of the
Pakistan also offers tremendous opportunities for
expansion of ASEAN states' trade to the Central Asian countries with the
completion of Gwadar Port next year.
President Megawati's statement about Indonesian and
other countries support to Pakistan's admission is re-assuring and it is
hoped that there will be no impediment in the way of Pakistan's full
dialogue partnership as well as its membership of the Association now.
Pakistan is bound to play the role of the hub for business, trade and
economic expansion in the region with Gwadar Port. The ASEAN member
nations stand to gain tremendously with Pakistan's membership.