Indonesian President Joko Widodo official visit to Islamabad on January 26 had a very warm welcome from his Pakistani counterpart Mamnun Hussain. Both leaders were accompanied by their spouse and they greet each other at the bottom part of plane’s stairs. This was the first visit of President Widodo to Pakistan, the Embassy of Indonesia in Baku reported.
The two-day visit of Indonesian President is special since President Hussain arrived himself at the airport and he needs to wait for a while until the plane of Mr Widodo landed in his land.
From the photo taken by the Press Bureau of the Indonesian Presidential Secretariat, Mr. Hussain appears to hold Mr. Widodo’ hand tightly with both of his hands. His smile was wide when he looked at Mr. Widodo. Mr. Widodo also treats the same thing for Mr. Hussain. He seemed flattered when greeted directly by the President of Pakistan.
President Widodo was accompanied by ministers and a large business delegation.
On January 27, President Joko Widodo was welcomed by Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi at Prime Minister’s House in Islamabad. After the state ceremony, President Widodo held a tete-a-tete meeting with PM Abbasi. The meeting was followed by the signing of a memorandum of understanding on energy and trade, ending with a luncheon with PM Abbasi.
At the different occasion, Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi, stated that Indonesian trade ties with Pakistan will be strengthened. Indonesia’s bilateral trade with Indonesia in January- October 2017 stands around 2.13 billion U.S. dollars. Pakistan has the fifth largest population in the world. Its population in 2016 reached 201 million people. “And from the side of its growth, is also quite great, in around 4,7% per year in 2016. That is why, we want to enhance this [trade ties wit Pakistan],” she said.
During his visit, President Joko Widodo also reviewed Pakistan Air Force’s JF-17 Thunder aircraft put on static display at the airbase. Wing Commander Adnan briefed the dignitary about the functions and capabilities of the aircraft.
The Indonesian President also addressed a joint session of the Parliament of Pakistan.
“Fifty-five years later, the President of the Republic of Indonesia again has the honor of speaking before the Pakistani Parliament. I want to use this opportunity to enhance the cooperation for world peace and prosperity,” said President Widodo in his speech on January 26.
President Joko Widodo called for a firm commitment to democracy terming it “the only way to serve interests of the people,” Radio Pakistan reported. “Economy of a country or a region can (only) grow if there is political stability and security,” he said.
“Our two countries are equally the initiators of the Asian-African Conference and our two countries are also consistently helping for the struggle of the Palestinian people in various forums. I believe that this vision can be developed into a joint cooperation in various fields,” said Mr. Widodo.
Mr. Widodo believes his state visit to Pakistan will strengthen the cooperation and friendship between the two countries. To that end, he focuses on three major bilateral issues, namely economic cooperation, inter-community relations, and cooperation for Palestine.
Indonesia and Pakistan have so many similarities. Both countries are huge Muslim majority countries, both countries are fellow OIC countries, fellow non-aligned countries and initiators of the Asian-African Conference.
“As Pakistan, in addition to be home for Muslims, Indonesia is also home to Hindus, Catholics, Christians, Buddhists and others. Indonesia is a plural country,” said Mr. Widodo.
“Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, that is the motto of our nation’s life, we are also grateful that we can live in a democratic state and everyone understands that managing plurality is not easy, democracy is not easy,” he continued.
According to him, commitment of mutual respect is also necessary for democracy to go further.
Mr. Widodo said political stability in Indonesia can be maintained due to democracy. Democracy also makes Indonesia’s growth strong enough, above 5 percent annual growth makes Indonesia one of the 20 largest economies in the world.
“As President, my belief is very strong that democracy is the most appropriate way to serve the interests of our society. Democracy provides space for people in the decision-making processes,” he said.
Referring to the challenges of terrorism, he said no country was immune to it. “Muslims are the biggest victim of terrorism, 76 per cent of terrorist attacks took place in Muslim countries. Besides, 60 per cent of armed conflicts happened in Muslim countries and 67 per cent refugees come from Muslim countries,” Widodo explained.
President Joko Widodo returned to his homeland on January 30 from a five-country visit in seven days. The five countries were Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.
Indonesia is the eighth largest trading partner of Pakistan and Pakistan’s largest trading partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Pakistan’s bilateral trade with Indonesia stands around 2.1 billion U.S. dollars annually.
Pakistan is one of the largest importers of Indonesian palm oil and the foreign ministry says bilateral trade is expected to grow manifold with the grant of duty free access to 20 tariff lines from Pakistan for export to Indonesia under the ambit of Preferential Trade Agreement.