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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Indonesia’s President told, what does he have in common with PM Modi

Story Highlights

  • Widodo said – there are similarities between him and Modi
  • Modi and Widodo took over the power of the country in 2014

G-20 summit is going to be held in Indonesia’s capital Bali in November this year, in which many global leaders will attend. Before this conference, Indonesian President Joko Widodo is projecting himself as a global peacemaker.

In an interview to ‘The Hindu’, Widodo talked about many current global developments, including the Russia-Ukraine war. He also pointed out the similarities between the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi and himself.

Like Indonesia, India has avoided condemning Russia for the Ukraine attack and did not support Western sanctions on Russia. In such a situation, is there a place in the G-20 also for such countries, which have non-aligned position regarding Russia, Ukraine attack? In response to this question, Widodo said that we should all sit together, no matter which block or faction you belong to. The most important thing is that we need to reduce our ego and give priority to matters like saving humanity, food security and energy security.

When asked about Widodo’s meeting with Prime Minister Modi in Germany last month and the cooperation of the two leaders in the G-20, he said that during the meeting with Prime Minister Modi, we had extensive talks on bilateral relations including economy, investment. We also discussed the Indian import of edible oil. I told them that we lifted the restrictions in May to restore the distribution of palm oil around the world.

Similarities Between PM Modi and Widodo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Widodo both came to power in their respective countries in 2014. On the one hand where Widodo Solo was the mayor of the city. At the same time, Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat before becoming the Prime Minister. In such a situation, when asked about the similarities between the two leaders, Widodo said that I think there are some similarities between us because of our past record.

On being asked that recently the Indonesian government had protested the BJP leader’s remarks on Prophet Mohammad and there were demonstrations in Indonesia as well. Was this discussed in the meeting with PM Modi?

To this Widodo said that protests and demonstrations in Indonesia are part of the expression of our democracy and we have never banned it. We allow differences within the ambit of the law. I don’t want to talk about India.

Religious bigotry, majoritarian movements and violence are being seen in both the countries. Asked about the challenge of remaining a republic in the midst of this fundamentalism and extremism, Widodo said, “I think there are no fundamental problems between different religions.” There are people from different religions and groups in my government and cabinet, including Catholics, Hindus, Muslims. I want to present all these relations as an example to the people that problems do happen but we should solve them together.

2024 marks the completion of 10 years of Widodo’s term as president. Widodo, however, said he does not want another term as president after that. He said that he would return to his hometown of Solo and think about his role in saving the environment.

Will Indonesia join the Quod?

With the US, India, Australia and Japan joining the newly formed Quad (QUAD) organization, Widodo said that cooperation between ASEAN and India should increase in the Indo-Pacific. We must ensure that there is no unhealthy competition between countries.

He said that we will also have to handle the animosity between America and China and ensure that this situation of conflict does not escalate. The goal of Indonesia’s foreign policy is to maintain friendly relations with all countries. The US is a strategic partner of Indonesia while China is also a major strategic partner country.

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