Indonesia and India Plan to Develop an Indian Ocean Port

Indonesia and India have pledged to step up defence and maritime cooperation, with plans to develop a strategic Indonesian naval port in the Indian Ocean according to what the leaders of the two countries said after a meeting in Jakarta. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indonesian President Joko Widodomet to discuss, among other issues, the developing infrastructure and an economic zone at Sabang, on the tip of Sumatra Island and at the mouth of the Malacca Strait, one of the busiest shipping channels for global trade. "India is a strategic defence partner... and we will continue to advance our cooperation in developing infrastructure, including at Sabang Island and the Andaman Islands, Widodo told a news conference after the meeting at the presidential palace. In a statement read in Hindi, PM Modi said,"The India-ASEAN partnership can be a force to guarantee peace and progress in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.” Analysts say the move comes amid concerns over China's rising maritime influence in the region and is part of Modi's "Act East" policy of developing stronger ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).