New Delhi: India and Indonesia on Monday discussed the proposed development of connectivity between Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Aceh province as well as ways to promote trade and tourism between the two regions.
The issue was discussed at the second edition of the Joint Task Force (JTF) meeting that took place in Port Blair, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
The Indian delegation was led by Vishvas Sapkal, Joint Secretary (South) in the MEA, while the Indonesian delegation was headed by Jatmiko H Prasetyo, Director for South and Central Asian Affairs in the Indonesian Foreign Ministry.
”The second edition of the Joint Task Force (JTF) meeting on development of connectivity between Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Aceh Province, Indonesia, took place in Port Blair on December 19,” the MEA said.
It said, during the meeting, the heads of delegation took stock of the progress made and the challenges faced in developing connectivity between Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Aceh since the first JTF meeting in 2019.
”To unleash the economic potential of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Aceh, the two sides also discussed ways to further promote trade, tourism and people to people contacts between the two regions, and the status of projects for port related infrastructure in and around Sabang,” the MEA said in a statement.
To improve trade and investment, the JTF agreed to enhance opportunities for interaction between business chambers and potential investors on both sides. ”With international tourism reviving after the pandemic, the two sides agreed to encourage sail tourism, cruise ship visits, and interaction between tour operators,” it said.
The MEA said the development of connectivity between Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Aceh province is a key element of the shared vision of maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, agreed in May 2018 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
The third edition of the JTF is expected to take place in Aceh in 2023.