H C Singh

Visit of Indonesian President Yodhogono to India – Relations between Indian and Indonesia from Ancient Times to Today

Indonesian President Susilo Bombang Yodhogono paid a historic visit to India which is marked by signing of 18 bilateral trade and economic agreements, amounting to 12 billion dollars to be extended further to 25 billion dollars i.e. more that 1 lakh crores of rupees. Indonesian President was the chief guest at Republic day, on 26 January 2011, the most important day of the year as considered and celebrated by people and government of India. He was welcomed and given honour by both the President and the Prime Minister of India befitting a foreign dignitary. It is President Yodhogono’s second visit to India. He had visited India in 2005 and initiated close relations with India.

India’s cultural contacts with Indonesia are from ancient times i.e. thousands of years old. It has been established by archeologists and historians that around 900 AD, more than 1100 years back, famous Shiva temple along with many other Hindu temples were built in Pramburan, Java around 900 AD. These temples are fully intact and are worshipped to this day particularly by Hindus of Bali region of Indonesia. Being ancient and historic monuments these temples are visited every year by thousands of foreigners from all over the world. Similarly Buddhist temples at Borobudur in Java built around the same period in 900 AD showing equally impact of Hinduism and Buddhism as inhabitants of Indonesia in ancient times. These Buddhist temples are also visited by all foreigners just as Hindu temples.

Hindu Kingdom existed in Indonesian around 700 AD which was called Mataram as was established by a ruler named Sanjiya in central Java. The names of the king and his kingdom as well as the name of Buddhist dynasty called Shalindra are typical Hindu names which are prevalent in India to this day. It is also apparent that the very name of the country, Indonesia, is a combination of India and Asia. Further national language of Indonesia is called Bhasha Indonesia. Bhasha is Hindi word which is most spoken and used in India even today. Even the name of the President of Indonesia, Susilo Yodhogona is close to Indian names of Sushila and name of brave man yodha. Indonesia’s currency is Rupiah just as the name of Indian currency Rupiah, or Rupee as now.

During 1300 AD, when in north Samatra a ruler had adopted Muslim religion along with his subjects, as recorded by Ibin Batuta who visited Indonesia in 1345, Islam started spreading in Indonesia, as elsewhere in India and parts of Asia. In couple of centuries almost entire Indonesia became predominantly Muslim. But Hindu and Buddhist influence continued. Accordingly no Hindu or Buddhist temple was destroyed.

When Dutch and Spanish adventurers in search of India reached America they called it West Indies, thinking that they, Vasco de Gama and others had reached West of India. In 1641, Dutch East India Company established itself in parts of Indonesia and in due course almost entire Indonesia was ruled by Dutch till the end of II World War. When in 1950 Indonesia gained independence after 3 years of struggle. After three years Soekarno became President of Indonesia and remained so till 1988 i.e. for more than 20 years. He was the first President of Indonesia to visit India, and that too, on 26th January 1950.

Above is, in brief, history of Indonesia from ancient times to present day and description of close ties of Indonesia with India. After Republic day celebrations, 11 agreements were signed by both countries at government level, dealing with economic, social, political and industrial subjects. Particularly to increase in air travel between two countries and also extradition treaty and mutual legal assistance and security to tourists and travelers between two countries. Indonesia has abundant natural resources like high quality coal and natural gas. While India is known worldwide for its efficient engineers and technocrats. Thus both countries will be benefitted, India by importing high quality coal and oil, which India needs, for development of its industries and power while Indonesia will benefit a lot with the help of Indian engineers and technocrats in becoming a modern state on the road to development. Besides government to government agreements, there have been agreement with private companies like Tata Power Company Ltd and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd and some other private companies. Both countries and their leaders have agreed to have more frequent exchange of visits between delegations of trade and business as well as at political level, so that relations between India and Indonesia lead to rise in the trade and productivity of both the countries. Already India is second biggest investor in Indonesia. In due course, as is expected India will be the biggest economic world power with annual growth, as expected, over 11 to 12 percent GDP and Indonesia with Indian collaboration will be the biggest economic power in South East Asia.

India has been helping Indonesia directly or indirectly since its freedom and even its freedom struggle it helped Soekarno against the Portuguese. Indonesia had long standing problem with East Timor, which is the only part of Indonesia with significant even majority Christian population. There have been frequent riots between Muslims and Christians. Ultimately Indonesia approached through UN, India to send some office who would be able to handle this problem and solve it once for all. UN requested Indian government to depute H.P.Singh a competent Police officer who had been earlier deputed by UN in 1992 to Mozambique and was a great success. Thus H P Singh IG Police of West Bengal was deputed in early 2007 originally for three months but at UN request his deputation was extended periodically and constantly for a year or little more till The East Timor problem was solved and there was lasting peace. As East Timor problem was solved with the hard work, intelligence and devotion of H P Singh, he was called at UN Headquarter to tell the other UN personal as to how he had solved this problem which existed for 30 years or more. Indonesia was also grateful to UN and India for the permanent solution of East Timor problem. India is prepared to help Indonesia in all spheres as outlined in the 11 agreements signed between the two governments.

February 4, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment