India and Indonesia experienced close historical and civilizational relations from the ancient times to sixteenth century CE. During the Indonesian freedom struggle, its leaders were inspired by the anti-colonial views of Indian leaders. India firmly stood for the freedom of Indonesia from the Dutch.
During the post-colonial period, the bilateral relations underwent ups and downs. India's Look East Policy of the 1990s made a phenomenal leap in both the countries' relationship. India by leveraging its soft power, stable foreign policy, non-interference policy established trust among many South-East Asian countries and in particular Indonesia. Indonesia, being the largest country in the region, has been proved as one of the greatest allies of India.
After a decade of stable governance under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesia now has a fairly strong democratic set-up. The country made the transition after thirty-one years of dictatorship of Soeharto, under the leadership of B.J. Habibie, Abdurrhaman Wahid and Megawati Soekarnoputri.
Now, when both the countries are poised to fly high after having witnessed considerable economic reforms, they need to forge stronger ties in order to further expand bilateral trade and strategic relations, being the main focus of this volume.
Dr Gautam Kumar Jha teaches Bahasa Indonesia at the Centre for Chinese & Southeast Asian Studies, School of Languages and Literature, JNU He did his Ph.D. from JNU He is a recipient of National Level Awards and Token of Appreciation from Indonesian Minister of Commerce for disseminating Indonesian language and culture in India. His first book Pan-Islam and Indonesia: Indonesian Islam through the Ages was published in 2012. He has contributed several articles related to Indonesian affairs, language and culture to newspapers and journals, and edited books. He has been instrumental in various academic collaborations and agreements between Indonesian universities and JNU.
Dr Son Kuswadi has a his doctorate in Robotics from Tokyo Institute of Technology. He was Post-Doctoral fellow and Assistant Professor in Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Japan during 2003-05. Currently he is teaching Control Engineering and Robotics at Graduate School of Electronic Engineering Polytechnics Institute of Surabaya (EEPIS). He was the Secretary to the Minister of Communication and Information Technology (2008-09) and as the Special Adviser to the Minister of National Education (2009-10). He was appointed as the Education Attache at Indonesian Mission in New Delhi during 2011-14.
This book is a culmination of our international conference on India-Indonesia Bilateral Ties (18-20 November 2013 at JNU, New Delhi), where a number of eminent scholars both from India and Indonesia spoke and presented their papers. The idea of having this conference was basically to bring the scholars from both the countries at one platform to have their deliberations as how we can take our bilateral ties to the next level, seeing a number of international issues arising in the region presently.
Indonesia being the largest country and one of the fastest growing economies in the South-East Asia is bestowed with abundant natural resources, and enjoys social, cultural and political stability compared to the other neighbouring countries. India, on the other hand, shares substantial cultural heritage with Indonesia and can collaborate in numerous areas for the welfare of mankind. As both the countries have strong democracy in governance, India and Indonesia are poised to make their presence felt internationally and here comes the strong need for overwhelming bilateral ties.
India and Indonesia have experienced very close historical and civilizational relations, which were actively fostered from the ancient times to sixteenth century CE. During the Indonesian freedom struggle, its leaders were very much inspired by the anti-colonial views of Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel and others.
The Indian National Congress had opposed British moves by expressing its resentment over the use of Indian resources, both human and material, against Indonesia and favoured the crusade for decolonization. Jawaharlal Nehru said:
We must insist that no Indian troop is used against the Government of the Indonesian Republic and that no material of war is sent from India to help the Dutch government. We must help Indonesians wherever we can.
While expressing strong solidarity with Indonesians, he stated:
I should like to convey to Dr Sukamo that if I can be of any service to the cause of Indonesian freedom, I shall gladly visit Java in spite of the urgent and important work in India.
During the post-colonial period, the bilateral relations passed through an incoherent phase coupled with confusion and misconceptions. None the less, well-wishers in both the countries worked hard to bring the derailed train back on the track. The Look East Policy (LEP) efforts initiated by the Indian government during the 1990s enabled her to participate actively in the South-East Asian affairs and happily Indonesia has proved itself as one of the greatest allies in realizing the overall objectives of LEP policy.
Indonesian economy has displayed growth and dynamism over the last few decades. Though problems remain, country's resilience in the wake of the current global economic crisis is commendable. There has been a remarkable improvement in the country's infrastructure.
Now, when both the countries are poised to fly high after having witnessed considerable economic reforms, they need to forge stronger ties in order to further expand bilateral trade and strategic relations.
In order to complete this great international conference we needed big manpower, financial and moral support and thankfully we received the same from the Embassy of Republic of Indonesia, New Delhi, ICSSR and JNU. As the conference was held in JNU we received overwhelming moral support from our Honourable Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sudhir Kumar Sopory, Prof. Girijesh Pant, the Dean of School of International Studies, JNU, Prof. Aslam Islahi, the Dean of School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, Prof. B.R. Deepak, the Chairperson, Centre for Chinese and Southeast Asian Studies, SLL & CS, JNU, Dr Girish Nath Jha, who presided over and spoke during the inauguration ceremony of the conference.
We are thankful to His Excellency Mr Rizali W. Indrakesuma, the Ambassador of Republic of Indonesia to India for his message, and Mrs Navrekha Sharma, the former Ambassador of India to Indonesia, and Prof. Baladas Ghoshal, the former Chairperson in School of International Studies, JNU, for giving keynote speech and participating the conference throughout.
We are thankful to Prof. Ganganath Jha and Prof. Manmohini Kaul, from the School of International Studies, who cared to encourage us by chairing the sessions. In this endeavour we would like to mention the names of our beloved students and scholars without whose support we would not have thought of success of this conference: Hammam, Rizki H. Attahiyat, Dodi Siregar, Dini Sire gar, Budianto, Suhendri, Rehita Hasian Batubara, Dilyana Putrianza, Rahma Melina, Mustafa, Chaerul, Eko, Dosman Manalu, Kiki, Anurima Chanda, Raveesh Rajayanya, Mukesh Kumar, Siddharth Chakravarti, Azhar, Geeta and Bandana.
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