The Indonesia-India Business Forum (IIBF), in collaboration with the Embassy of India in Jakarta, recently convened a seminal event as part of its thought leadership series, focusing on “Enabling Indonesia-India Economic Integration.” This high-profile gathering, held in Jakarta on December 15, 2023, brought together key business leaders, diplomats, and industry experts to discuss and explore avenues for bolstering economic ties between these two dynamic economies.
Sumita Dawra, Special Secretary, DPIIT, Govt of India, delivered the keynote presentation virtually from India on various aspects of the PM Gati Shakti Master Plan. Her presentation focused on the plan’s objectives, implementation strategies, and expected outcomes. She emphasized the importance of this initiative in boosting India’s economic growth, enhancing the ease of doing business, and improving overall infrastructure efficiency. Dawra highlighted the collaborative approach of the plan, involving both public and private stakeholders, and its potential to revolutionize India’s infrastructure sector.
Indian Ambassador to Indonesia and Timor Leste, Sandeep Chakravorty spoke candidly on the challenges in reducing logistics costs, a significant hurdle in the path of Indonesia-India economic integration. Chakravorty pointed out the disparity in logistics costs within and between the countries, urging the need for efficient and cost-effective solutions. He referred to India’s Gati Shakti master plan, an initiative aimed at building sustainable infrastructure to mitigate these issues.
A key suggestion from Chakravorty was the potential establishment of a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between India and Indonesia. This agreement could balance trade and enhance economic integration, considering India’s prominence as a significant market for Indonesian oil exports. The ambassador’s remarks were a testament to the mutual recognition of the need for closer economic ties and the benefits they could bring.
At the forefront of the discussion was the crucial role of logistics in facilitating trade and commerce. The Managing Director of PT Gateway Container Line, Hesty Rosmawaty, highlighted their ambitious target of 9% business growth for the upcoming year. This optimism stems from their focus on less container load (LCL) services, which form the backbone of their business strategy. Despite falling short of their 10% growth target in 2023, achieving only 8%, Rosmawaty’s confidence in hitting the 9% mark in 2024 was palpable. She emphasized the integration of digital tools like NLE, CEISA 4.0, and SiTol, underscoring the indispensable role of digitalization in streamlining logistics operations and enhancing service delivery.
In his address, Bayu Prawira Hie from the IIBF Advisory Board, reflected on the long-standing historical relations between India and Indonesia. He emphasized the importance of building on these ties to create a collective strength, fostering cooperation and elevating the standard of living in both nations. His insights pointed towards a future where economic cooperation is not just about trade and commerce but also about sustainable development and mutual growth.
The forum concluded with a panel discussion with Kamlesh Kumar, COO of PT Baramulti Suksessarana Tbk, Abhilasha Kannan, President Director of Asian Paints Indonesia, and Hesty Rosmawaty, Managing Director of PT Gateway Container Line. Moderated by Sachin V Gopalan, Founder of the Indonesia Economic Forum, the panel delved into various facets of the Indonesia-India economic relationship, exploring practical solutions and strategies to overcome existing barriers.
The IIBF event has created a platform for dialogue and collaboration between Indonesia and India. The discussions underscored the importance of reducing logistics costs, embracing digital transformation, and fostering governmental cooperation to enhance economic ties. As both countries continue to evolve and grow, forums like these are pivotal in shaping a collaborative and prosperous future.