Two countries will look at common stockpiling of reserves

Eager to add “further depth and content” to the strategic partnership established in 2005, India and Indonesia on Friday decided to join hands to ensure food security for their people and work with each other in fighting radicalisation.

Food security appeared a major priority for Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during his one-to-one meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and at delegation-level talks here. More than once in his media statement after the talks, the President brought up the need for the two sides to work together to ensure adequate food stocks for the people of two of the four most populous countries. According to External Affairs Ministry officials, both sides acknowledged that the two countries could not afford imports and were of the view that food security should be met bilaterally.

Mr. Yudhoyono stressed the need to safeguard the food market from price distortions. Also there is an intent to work together further in the World Trade Organisation to make it more just for protecting food security requirements.

Acknowledging the urgency shown by Mr. Yudhoyono, Dr. Singh said officials were asked to work towards drawing up concrete proposals in this regard. Officials said the two countries would look at possibilities of common stockpiling of food reserves. Indonesia also evinced interest in India’s food security law.

Annual summit

On other issues, the two countries decided to explore collaboration in sale and production of defence equipment and security cooperation, and agreed to renew the Agreement on Cooperation regarding the Utilisation of Nuclear Energy for Peaceful Purposes.

The two leaders decided to hold annual summits, including on the margins of multilateral events, and have the Joint Commission Meeting annually instead of engaging at this level every alternate year.

Six Memoranda of Understanding were signed during this first bilateral visit by Dr. Singh. These seek to establish partnerships in health, disaster management, fighting corruption, combating trafficking in narcotics, and training public officials. With the ratification of the Extradition Treaty and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in Criminal Matters, the two sides decided to explore cooperation on transfer of sentenced persons.