External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Arrives in Indonesia For Asian-African Conference

JAKARTA:  External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, today, arrived in Jakarta on five-day visit to attend the 60th commemoration of the historical 1955 Asian-African Conference and the 10th anniversary of the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership.

The conference which became the stepping stone for the Non-Aligned Movement during the Cold War-era is likely to adopt three declarations - Bandung message 2015: strengthening South-South Cooperation to promote world peace and prosperity, declaration on reinvigorating the new Asian African Strategic Partnership and declaration on Palestine.

Ms Swaraj is accompanied by senior diplomats from the Ministry and would participate in number of bilateral and multilateral discussions during the conference in which 53 countries including 22 Heads of State are participating.

The Minister is likely to hold bilateral meetings with the President of Vietnam, President and Vice-President of  Indonesia, Prime Ministers of Nepal, Singapore, Rwanda, Palestine besides her counterparts from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Morocco, Tunisia and Timor-Leste.

The 1955 conference led by Indonesia's independence hero Sukarno brought together eminent leaders like Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser and India's Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, whose famous 'Panchsheel' doctrine was incorporated in 10 principles of international peace and cooperation in declaration.

Ms Swaraj will also be part of historical walk in Bandung to mark the moment 60 years ago when leaders of 29 Asian and African countries walked together and joined hands in the First Asian African Conference.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi could not attend the conference because of ongoing Budget Session of the Parliament.

He had written to Indonesian President Joko Widodo expressing regrets for not being able to attend the meet. In the letter, the Prime Minister also invited Mr Widodo to visit India and said he was looking forward to visiting Indonesia at a mutually convenient time.

Asserting that he attaches extraordinary importance to the bilateral relations with Indonesia, Mr Modi had said there was much in our proximity, history, culture and now, the sheer democratic values and our roles as two major emerging Asian nations that impart great strategic importance to our partnership.

Noting that in these 60 years, Asia has seen unprecedented economic progress, rise of democracy and elimination of poverty, Mr Modi said yet it must still deal with unresolved questions and unsettled issues for enduring peace and prosperity in the region.