India and Indonesia Launch Joint Initiative for Sabang Deep-Sea Port

India and Indonesia close on the heels of PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Jakarta has launched initiative to develop port in Sabang in Aceh province to enhance maritime connectivity as part of Indo-Pacific strategy being in put in place by both sides.

A joint team led by foreign ministry officials of both countries visited Sabang this week to explore collaboration to develop strategically located deep-sea port. The team also explored potential to enhance connectivity between the Provinces including Aceh in Sumatera Islands of Indonesia and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

This was a follow up to the Shared Vision on Maritime Cooperation in Indo-Pacific released during Modi’s May 29-30 visit. The Indian team was led by Pradeep K Rawat, Ambassador of India to Indonesia and included officials and business delegates from Andaman and Nicobar islands. The Indonesian team was led by officials from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia and had senior officials from other government departments including from the provincial government of Aceh.

During the visit of the Indian delegation, Indian Naval Ship “INS Sumitra” also berthed at Sabang Port earlier today. The ship sailed from Port Blair and is visiting Sabang for routine operational turnaround, wherein it will take provisions and fuel before going for further deployment in the Indian Ocean.

The Indian Embassy in Jakarta along with the Policy Analysis and Development Agency (PADA) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, and Provincial Government of Aceh & North Sumatra organized an India Indonesia Investment Forum (IIIF) at Hotel Hermes Palace in Banda Aceh on July 9.

The two sides explored opportunities for economic cooperation that can be developed between Aceh & North Sumatera and Andaman-Nicobar, namely tourism, especially cruise tourism and eco-tourism; air transport connectivity, through regular commercial flights from Indonesia-Port Blair; and sea transportation to facilitate trade between the two regions.

Aceh and North Sumatera provinces of Indonesia offers tremendous potentials for cooperation. These provinces are rich in natural resources, such as minerals: oil, gas, coal; palm oil, rubber, betel nut, coconut, as well as sea and freshwater fish cultivation.