India-Indonesia Summit Likely to Announce Indian Access to Sabang Seaport

Indian PM Modi will be visiting Indonesia in the coming weeks for the India-Indonesia bilateral summit. The India-Indonesia bilateral summit is expected to discuss numerous issues including the likely announcement of India’s access to the Sabang seaport. Additionally, India-Indonesia meet is also expected to announce PM Modi’s plans to open up a healthcare facility at Sabang, Indonesia.

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With the India-Indonesia bilateral summit coming up, Indonesia is likely to give access to India to the deep Sabang seaport and its naval vessels. As reported by the Times Of India, the Indonesian Minister of maritime affairs addressed an audience in New Delhi and said:

“India and Indonesia have started naval drills in 2017, but we can explore doing more between our coast guards. This will become even better when the Sabang seaport is established with India. Sabang port has a depth of 40 metres which is good even for submarines.”

Expected Matters to be Discussed at the India-Indonesia bilateral summit

The access to deep Sabang seaport in Indonesia is one of the many cementing steps that will be discussed and announced at the India-Indonesia bilateral summit. On the other hand, PM Modi is slated to announce the plans to open up a healthcare facility at Sambang. The government of Indonesia is also interested in Indian investments in an economic zone in the region, as it’s still under-developed.

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Some speculate that PM Modi may take a sea journey to Sabang, which is just around 700 km from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. However, space and defence are to be the main points of discussion at the India-Indonesia bilateral summit.

As reported in the Times of India, a former Indonesian ambassador stated:

“Indian coast guard ships now make regular visits to Indonesian ports and emphasise the closeness between the two countries. The Indonesian side has expressed interest in getting commercial investment in the port of Sabang, which is the westernmost point of Indonesia. This port has a deep draft but rudimentary facilities,”

In response to the OBOR and Chinese stationing of missiles at the disputed South China Sea regions, the Indonesian maritime affairs minister said that this is a ‘sensitive matter’ and it had been discussed with China in a friendly way. However even though Indonesia has been denying the issue with China’s growing influence and claim over the seas, the country has renamed its sea to Natuna Sea. The minister also stated “India-Indonesia relations are important for the balance of power in Asia”

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