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India, Indonesia to exchange notes on extradition pact: VP Hamid Ansari

New Delhi(PTI): India will exchange notes with Indonesia to complete formalities for a pending extradition pact, Vice President Hamid Ansari said on Sunday as the government stepped up efforts to bring back underworld don Chhota Rajan from this country.

VP Hamid Ansari

Emphasising on age old cultural ties with Indonesia, Ansari, who arrived in Jakarta on the first leg of his two nation tour, said India would enter into partnerships with the country on ayurveda, cultural exchange and renewable energy during the visit.

Ansari also emphasised that India should build its relations with other countries “at its own momentum” and not to counterbalance any other country’s actions.

During his interaction with reporters, Ansari said India will exchange notes with Indonesia to complete formalities for the extradition pact signed in 2011.

“An agreement which was signed many years ago, in 2011 if I am right, on extradition, for which an exchange of notes is taking place, that is a technical formality,” Ansari said.

There has been much interest in India about the status of its extradition pact with Indonesia after Rajan was arrested in Bali when he arrived from Australia last Sunday on an Indian passport.

After Indonesia, Ansari will visit Brunei from November 4-6, which would be the first ever Vice Presidential trip to that country.

Asked about India’s security cooperation with Indonesia and Brunei, Ansari said that with the two countries, there is cooperation at the level of Defence Ministry and armed forces.

“That is one aspect. The other side is security cooperation in the internal security sense. We are happy with the level of cooperation that exists at the moment. In-fact one of the documents (related to this) is going to be exchanged, during the course of this visit,” he said referring to document exchange related to the extradition pact.

Indonesia, he said, is a maritime neighbour and also the biggest ASEAN country, which fits into the India’s Look East and Act East policy.

On a question whether counterbalancing China’s assertiveness in South China Sea was a priority for the government, Ansari said, “I don’t think we should be in the business of counterbalancing.”

“We develop our own relations at our own momentum,” he said, adding that the world of 21st century will work on commonality of interests.

Ansari said that Indonesia is very rich in resources and the bilateral trade stood at US $20 billion, with India being an important buyer of Indonesian palm oil and coal.

“Successive leaderships of both countries have cultivated this relationship over time and the present visit is also part of that process,” he said.

Ansari will also visit Bali where he would inaugurate a bust of Mahatama Gandhi at Uddiyana University on November 3 and also address students there.

Speaking about Brunei, Ansari said that it is a “very friendly country to us” and added that by accident and not by design, there have not been many high level visits to that country, except one by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who went there to attend a summit.

“We buy USD one billion worth of oil from Brunei,” Ansari said.

The Indian community in Brunei is quite well respected.

Both Indonesia and Brunei have been very cooperative towards India’s role in 10-member ASEAN grouping.

As he landed in Jakarta, the Vice President was received by Indonesia’s Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs A M Fachir.

Ansari also visited the famous Istiqlal mosque in Jakarta.

Ansari would be meeting Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla on Monday.

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