The Indian Government, the foreign policy establishment in particular, can do more to leverage the vast collective experience of Indians in Indonesia and channel it towards larger goals of bilateral cooperation. A profound sense of affinity which Indians have towards Indonesians through shared history, culture, aesthetics, language and civilisation will always remain in the bilateral relations.
Indian investors, for example, are welcomed in Indonesia not only because of the employment they generate, but also for intangible reasons such as cultural affinity and their willingness to share technological know-how with the Indonesians. Japanese and Westerners are not willing to do so.
Also, Indian businesses are considered more frugal, which Indonesians appreciate. Despite the monochromatic globalisation which is being pressed upon us from all sides today, Indians and Indonesians can, and do, indulge in less rapacious and more equitable business practices. So, Indian businessmen are welcomed in Indonesia as much for their sound business plans as for the cultural reasons.
Like India, Indonesia is also a secular and democratic nation. Of great interest to us is that Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population. Because it has several minority religions, ethnicities and languages, it has chosen to be governed by a uniquely secular Constitution, which it calls ‘Panchashila