India keen to scale up economic ties with Indonesia

Jakarata: With an eye on mineral resources like coal, India is scaling up its economic ties with Indonesia and the move is being helped by big Indian business houses like the Tatas, Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group and Aditya Birla Group.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma is leading a big CII delegation, headed by well-known industrialist Vijay R Kirloskar, to develop new linkages with the Indonesian government and industry.

The initiatives include negotiations for a comprehensive free trade agreement aimed at not only liberalising existing bilateral trade of USD 14 billion and taking it up to USD 25 billion by 2015, but securing access for Indian services like education and health in the 250 million people Indonesian market.

"India and Indonesia can do much more in the changing world," Sharma said at a reception hosted by the India-Indonesian Chamber of Commerce last night.

He said while Indian business houses have invested US 20 billion in sectors like steel, power and coal, Indonesia should allow access to Indian pharmaceuticals, which have made a name for themselves in the world market.

Indian drug companies are the second largest receivers of US Food and Drug Administration approvals.

"The Indian generic companies changed the global discourse" and broke the stranglehold of MNCs in the world pharma market, he said.