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Updated: June 25, 2014 22:34 IST

Indonesia keen on reviving Garuda flights to India

Santosh Patnaik
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Hariyanta Soetarto. Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam
The Hindu Hariyanta Soetarto. Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam

Indonesia is keen on re-launching the operation of its national carrier Garuda Indonesia to India and increasing the role of Indian investors in fast emerging IT field.

“Youth in our country is becoming more and more tech-savvy with twitter accounts crossing 48 million and facebook touching 22 million-mark,” Consul (Economics/Head of Chancery) Hariyanta Soetarto has said.

Mr. Soetarto said the office of Consulate General of Indonesia in Mumbai was on a mission to showcase the investment potential of the republic, which had ancient trade and cultural relations with India.

In an exclusive interview to The Hindu, he said they were trying to revive tourist arrivals from India. He said they were looking at resuming Garuda flights, which were terminated in 1998 after Indonesia was hit by economic crisis.

“It has considerably reduced the inflow of Indian tourists to Indonesia. Compared to Singapore and Thailand, the number of Indian tourists coming to Indonesia is very low despite popularity of Bali as a world famous destination,” he said.

Mr. Soetarto, who was here to showcase investment potential of his country, said they were now happy to see India emerging as a potential leading partner-country. “Both of us are among top 10 economies of the world. Lately investments have started flowing from Indonesia to India. Our companies like Samudra Shipping, Tanindo Seeds Int. Ltd, Garuda Foods, Indofood, Inbisco India Private Ltd, Japfacomfeed and Quantum Select Indonesia have invested in various sectors in India,” he stated.

Bilateral trade

Bilateral trade between Indonesia and India reached US$16.99 billion in 2013. A target has been set to raise it to $45 billion in 2015. “This is a tremendous achievement if we compare the figure of 2004 when the volume of business was just $4.5 billion,” he said.

Mr. Soetarto, who visited Brandix India Apparel City near here, said they were looking at cooperation in science and technology, mining, agriculture, bio-technology, machine tools, cement, sugar, power generating machinery, LNG and gas and computer software.

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