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Indonesia keen on attracting more Indian investments

The Hindu Business Line:  August, 2010

Chennai: A number of Indian companies (including the Tatas and Reliance) have invested in coal mines in Indonesia and the public sector aluminium major, Nalco, is investing Rs 18,000 crore for setting up a production centre in the country.

Indonesia wishes that many more Indian companies follow the example of these companies and invest there.

“I wish to underline that Indonesia is the fourth largest market (in terms of population) in the world, after China, India and the US,” says Lt. General (Retd) Andi M. Ghalib, Indonesia's Ambassador in India, who was in Chennai recently. The country is inhabited by 237 million people, making it a large market.

A part of the Ambassador's mission here was to seek Indian participation in the forthcoming trade and investment fair – The 25th Indonesia Trade Expo – that is to be held in the Indonesian capital between October 13 and 17.

The prospective sectors for investment are energy, petrochemicals and refinery, iron and steel, telecommunications and automotive, says the Indonesian Trade Promotion Centre, here.

Ambassador Ghalib believes that Indonesia and India are natural friends. In a chat with Business Line, he stressed the point that the President of Indonesia and the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, “are very good friends”.

He rued the fact that a lot of goods of Indonesian origin today have to come to India through other countries, mostly Singapore or Malaysia, and hoped that Indonesia and India would trade with each other directly in the coming years.

Indonesia wants India's assistance mainly in agriculture and information technology, he said.

Mr Otto Raidi, Counsellor, Embassy of The Republic of Indonesia, New Delhi, who accompanied the Ambassador to Chennai, said that the Reliance group, having acquired two mining companies in Indonesia, was in the process of establishing transport lines between Indonesia and India.

In response to a question, he said that foreign owners of coal mines in Indonesia only needed to sell a fifth of their annual coal production into the domestic market.

Mr Somi Hazari, Managing Director, Shosova Properties Pvt. Ltd and an Executive Member India-Asean Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce, told Business Line that India would greatly benefit by increasing trade ties with Indonesia, the country being a large market for Indian goods.