JAKARTA – Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has encouraged the ASEAN-India partnership to focus on maintaining stability, peace, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
At the same time, he urged ASEAN partners to collaborate that would ensure solidity in the health and food sector.
“The Indo-Pacific is a strategic area. However, this region is prone to rivalries if we do not manage it properly. The condition can also lead to conflict. Hence, the ASEAN-India partnership must be able to become guardians for stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific,” he told the ASEAN Summits in Phnom Penh, Cambodia recently.
Jokowi made the remark at 19th ASEAN-India Summit at the Sokha Hotel, Phnom Penh, which was also attended by ASEAN leaders and Indian Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar.
The Indonesian leader pressed for concrete cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. He also invited India to play an active part in the Indo-Pacific Infrastructure Forum that will be held next year when Indonesia chairs the ASEAN.
“The second aspect is health cooperation, including cooperation in the procurement of raw materials for drugs and medicines,” he said, and reminded that related stakeholders should maintain the supply chain for raw materials and medicines in the future.
“Third, cooperation in the food sector. Combined together, the number of ASEAN and Indian populations will reach around two billion people. We must work together to avoid a fertilizer crisis,” he added.
Jokowi said the “Global Crisis Response Group” reported that if a fertilizer crisis occurred, it would have an impact on rice production in the next year and affect over three billion people. “ASEAN-India must be the driving force to avoid such a crisis,” he emphasized.
With Widodo in Phnom Penh are his Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Mahfud MD; Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi; and Minister of State, Secretary Pratikno. (Antara)