At a time when trade relations are worsening and diplomatic rows proliferating, India and Indonesia seem to be fostering closer ties.
Their relationship strengthened after India, the world’s top buyer of palm oil, adjusted some import tariffs on the tropical product, which benefited Indonesian shipments. Now, Indonesia is trying to return the favor by potentially buying more sugar and yarn from India, a major producer of both.
In contrast to this quid pro quo, India’s ties with Malaysia have deteriorated over the Southeast Asian nation’s criticism on Kashmir, while Japan and South Korea have clashed over the colonization of the Korean Peninsula, and the U.S. presses on in its trade fight with China and the European Union.
In a sign of warmer ties between India and Indonesia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joko Widodo exchanged visits this year. The two commodity heavyweights have set a target to double trade to $50 billion in 2025.
Indonesia said on Thursday it plans to cut import taxes on Indian yarn to 0 per cent from 5 per cent. Last month, the same country said it’s considering changing rules about the quality of sugar it imports, a move expected to benefit India.