BOOK REVIEW | An Introspection of India’s Bilateral Ties with Indonesia
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BOOK REVIEW | An Introspection of India’s Bilateral Ties with Indonesia

By Ankita Chakraborty
Research Assistant, Netaji Institute for Asian Studies, Kolkata, India

BOOK REVIEW | An Introspection of India’s Bilateral Ties with Indonesia

India –Indonesia Bilateral Ties An Introspection, 
edited by Gautam Kumar Jha and Son Kuswadi, Suryadaya books, New Delhi; 2015
ISBN-10: 8192570231 | ISBN-13: 978-8192570235

India and Indonesia can be said as the two distant cousins in the Asian neighbourhood, have shared a common cultural and civilization ties from the very ancient era, and now emerged as the potential economic and cultural partner in the emerging Asian region. The India-Indonesia Bilateral ties An Introspection is an outcome of an International Conference on India-Indonesia Bilateral ties which was held in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, on 18-20 November 2013, and have contains articles of several eminent scholars and researchers from both the countries. The book can be considered as one of the most important source material for the study of India’s bilateral relation with Indonesia in the contemporary years, dealing with several important aspects of bilateral issues like economic, social, security etc along with the past developments. The book had also provided with new revelations and personal experiences of the respective authors life in Indonesia, thus provided with an interesting aspect of the study of India-Indonesia bilateral relations. The books had also contained a few examples of India’s ancient cultural ties, like the popularity of Ramayana and Mahabharata in both the countries, loan words of Sanskrit in Bahasa and the impact of Indian architecture in Javanese architecture etc along with several others interesting aspects. 

The book had started with the keynote addresses of the former Ambassador of India to Indonesia Mrs. Navrekha Sharma; who had spoken from the perspectives of why Indonesia could be considered as India’s “natural partner”; where she had briefly pointed out our past ties from the struggle of Independence to the Cold War period, when Sukarno and Nehru had emerged as the leader of third world Nations, following by the deteriorations of relationship between India and Indonesia in those years. The article then focussed on the ties in the contemporary period, India’s Look East Policy (LEP) along with the security and energy issues which had made both the countries as the natural partner in the Asian region. The article had also mentioned about India’s cultural linkages between India and Indonesia and similarity between Indian and Indonesian society. The article ends with the hope that if both India and Indonesia will work together to fight against poverty and other odds of society thus  giving a healthy life to the citizens of both the countries which can only be achieved by working together. The second chapter dealt with the keynote addresses of the eminent scholar Prof Baladas Ghoshal, who discusses the past and present relations of India with Indonesia, along with the security issues like terrorism, China factor and the South China Sea issues. In an interesting revelation, Prof Ghosal had pointed out that China in Asian region had a considerable advantage over India, with its large infrastructural and economic development over the region but India had an advantage over China in the field of education which if explored could provide a vast area of opportunities in the future. The third chapter contained the keynote address by His Excellency Mr. Rizali W Indrakesuma, ambassador of Indonesia to India, where he had briefly pointed out the several areas of cooperation and the area of convergence between India and Indonesia, like the political aspects, economic, social and cultural aspects, which could provide India a pool of opportunity to jointly collaborate in International fora like UN, WTO etc and the spread of art and culture in each others’ countries.

 Apart from the keynote addresses, there are 16 other chapters of the books by several other scholars who had dealt with the several aspects of India’s bilateral relation with India like the India’s trade, investments and economic relations with Indonesia along with the security issues like Maritime security, piracy, China factor, etc in which both the Nations are cooperating. The trade and investment between both the Nations have been quite improving after the liberalisation of India’s Policy followed by India’s Look East Policy, showed that the trade figure of India and Indonesia is quite an impressive one. It had increased since the end of the Cold War, after India had adopted its Look East Policy (LEP) and after the fall of Suharto regime in 1998. The trade, economic and commercial relations of the book had unveiled the India Indonesia trade relations which both the countries had undertaken by taking certain steps like India-Indonesia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CCEA), creation of Eminent Persons Group(EPG) to study the report, creation of Biennial Trade Ministers’ Forum  in the recent past. The book had also provided with security issues which many authors had dealt with, among them the rise of radical Islamization and terrorism, in which both the countries had been the victims. Other contemporary issues include the democracy, human rights, environment, terrorism etc.There is a need for both the countries to work together in order to address these issues. Also, Indonesia lies at a point of Maritime chokepoint, there is a need to control piracy, provides a safety of Sea Lanes of Communication, combating transnational crimes, drug trafficking etc. The book ends with the prospects of collaboration between India and Indonesia in the field of Science and Technology.  

It is interesting to know that India’s ISRO had already signed several MoU’s with Indonesia’s National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) and also India used to train Indonesia’s engineers in India. With the success of India’s space research programme; there remains the hope of joint collaboration between India and Indonesia. So the book had provided us with clear pictures of our engagements and bilateral ties with Indonesia, especially in the recent years.

Altogether it can be said that Indonesia provide India with lots of unexplored opportunities and a prospective partner in the Asia Pacific region and cultivation of more such opportunities will be proved to be fruitful in the near future. Nevertheless, this book could serve as a useful guide to the students of International Relations and Area Studies and also the policy makers to get clear pictures of India bilateral relation with Indonesia in the present decades.

About the Author:

Ankita Chakraborty (Thomson Reuters RID :  G-9047-2016) is a Research Assistant, Netaji Institute for Asian Studies, Kolkata, India, an MPhil Graduate from Institute of Foreign Policy Studies (IFPS) at Calcutta University and former project fellow at Center for Studies in International Relations and Development, Kolkata, INDIA. 

Cite This Article:

Chakraborty, A " BOOK REVIEW | An Introspection of India’s Bilateral Ties with Indonesia" IndraStra Global Vol. 002, Issue no: 05 (2016), 0002,, ISSN 2381-3652


India –Indonesia Bilateral Ties An Introspection 978-819-25-702-35 Rating: 8.5 out of 10 IndraStra Global