Indonesia Looks Forward to Latest India-Southeast Asia Links

Summary

The Indian government is accelerating the plan to turn the Andaman and Nicobar Islands into a shipping and tourism hub, connecting the country with Southeast Asian markets. The ambitious effort is in line with China's growing intrusion into the Indian Ocean. The Straits Times on Jan 3 reported that Indian and Indonesian officials had met and agreed to "encourage sail tourism, cruise ship visits, and interaction between tour operators" between the two countries.

To realize the plan, India is willing to develop the Port of Sabang in Aceh. For the record, strengthening ties between Andaman-Nicobar Islands and Aceh, which are 150 kilometers apart, is part of the Shared Vision for Indo-Pacific Maritime Cooperation signed in 2018. "The broader context [of this cooperation] is closer political and economic ties," Distinguished Fellow at Gateway House and former Indian ambassador Rajiv Bhatia said.

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