India and Indonesia today inked avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and discussed strategic bilateral and regional issues,including South China Sea in the backdrop of increasing Chinese influence in the region.
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and his Indonesian counterpart Marty M Natalegawa co-chaired the fourth meeting of the India-Indonesia Joint Commission and identified specific areas in which both countries would be working together to take the relationship to the next high level.
Prior to the Joint Commission Meeting,Foreign Minister Marty and I had very useful discussions on the current status of our bilateral relations and exchanged views on regional and international issues, Krishna said interaction with his Indonesian counterpart here.
Asked about their views on South China Sea and increasing influence of China in the region,India stressed the need for freedom of navigation,asking all parties concerned to resolve the issue through dialogue while Indonesia maintained that though it was a fact that there were countries growing in the region,the growth should be ‘conducive’ to the region’s peace and security.
Natalegawa said efforts were on by the ASEAN countries to come out with a code of conduct for the South China Sea after the disappointment at the recent ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh,Cambodia,when they were unable to take further steps forward with respect to the code.
Noting that change in dynamics is inherent,the Indonesian Foreign Minister said “it is a fact of life. It is something that we must not fight over or try to deny” but added “dynamics and such developments materialise in a way that it is at the same time conducive to region’s peace and stability.”
Pointing out that the two countries became strategic partners in 2005,Krishna said “Indonesia is an important partner for us in our Look East policy. Our trade has expanded rapidly and has now touched USD 20 billion. We are confident of achieving the target of USD 25 billion set for 2015.
“Indian investment in Indonesia is rising. We are also cooperating in several other sectors including energy,oil and gas,coal,marine and fisheries,agriculture,science and technology,education,culture.
It is understood that under the avoidance of double taxation agreement the two countries would cooperate with each other on taxation and other financial matters.
The two leaders also agreed to have regular interaction to identify challenges and take stock of the status of bilateral ties. Both signed the minutes of the meeting of the Joint Commission.