Jakarta - Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday began his Indonesia visit by paying homage to martyrs of Indonesian independence struggle as he laid a wreath at the Kalibata National Heroes’ Cemetery in Jakarta.

Kalibata Heroes’ Cemetery in South Jakarta is a military cemetery in Indonesia. It was built in 1953 and opened in November 1954 when the first burial took place.

Mr. Modi, who is here on his first-ever official visit to Indonesia, met President Joko Widodo on Wednesday and discussed bilateral cooperation in a broad range of areas, including maritime, trade and investment.

India, Indonesia agree to nearly triple bilateral trade to $50 billion

India and Indonesia have agreed to double their efforts to boost bilateral trade to USD 50 billion by 2025, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said after holding comprehensive talks with President Widodo.

In a joint press statement after the talks, Mr. Modi said India and Indonesia have agreed to upgrade their ties to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

According to Indonesia’s Central Statistics Agency (BPS), trade between the two countries in 2016 was USD 12.9 billion. It rose 28.7 per cent to USD 18.13 billion in 2017 with Indonesia’s exports to India reaching USD 14.08 billion and its imports from India standing at $4.05 billion.

2 Major Agreements Signed

India and Indonesia have signed two major agreements on defence and space, 13 MoUs on trade, culture, archaeology, etc. as Mr. Modi meets Mr. Widodo in Jakarta.

A Maritime Stretch: Modi in Southeast Asia

An uptick in India-Indonesia relations will be a welcome development for both President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Mr. Modi, who through their respective ‘Global Maritime Fulcrum’ and ‘Act East’ policies have envisaged sharper maritime collaboration in the region.

The visit comes against the backdrop of an offer from the Indonesian government to grant India access to its Sabang port for the development of the port and an economic zone.

India and Indonesia share multiple common concerns, one of which is China’s growing maritime footprint in the eastern Indian Ocean. Sabang, with its naval base, naval air station, and maintenance and repair facilities, has the potential to serve as the focal point of a budding strategic partnership between the two countries.

Modi at Kalibata

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet: “Lest we forget...Paying homage to martyrs of Indonesian independence struggle! PM @narendramodi laying wreath at the Kalibata National Heroes’ Cemetery and signing the Visitor’s Book.”

More than 7,000 people who are military casualties and veterans from Indonesian War of Independence are buried at the cemetery.

Mr. Modi arrived in the Indonesian capital on Tuesday on the first leg of his three-nation tour to East Asia to cement the political, economic and strategic interest of the two friendly maritime neighbours.