Ansari to visit Indonesia, Brunei from Nov 1-6

New Delhi: Vice President M Hamid Ansari would travel to Indonesia and Brunei during a six-day visit from November 1 to 6 to carry forward India’s bilateral engagements with the two countries.

In Indonesia, Ansari would be meeting President Joko Widodo, his counterpart there Jusuf Kalla and the Speakers of the two Houses of the country’s Parliament, Anil Wadhwa, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, told reporters here.

The Vice President is also expected to visit the historical Istiqlal mosque in Jakarta, Wadhwa 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.

The Vice President is going to Indonesia at the invitation of his Indonesian counterpart Kalla, Wadhwa said adding, India and Indonesia have had close ties since the times of Prime Minister Jawharlal Nehru and President Sukarno.

He said Indonesia has emerged the second largest trading partner of India in the ASEAN region. “Bilateral trade has reached from 4.3 billion dollars it is now 20 billion dollars in 2014-15,” he added.

From Indonesia, Ansari will visit Brunei from November 4 to 6, which would be the first ever visit to that country at the level of Vice President.

Wadhwa said there has been no bilateral visit to Brunei even at the level of President or Prime Minister.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had, however, visited Brunei in 2013 to participate in 11th ASEAN India Summit and East Asia Summit, he said.

In Brunei, Ansari will meet Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and crown prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah. He will also deliver address at the University of Brunei Darussalam.

Brunei, he said, is an important partner for India in ASEAN and exports crude oil and petroleum products to India.

India is third largest destination for Brunei’s exports, Wadhwa said, adding that the trade volume between the two countries is around one billion US dollars.

Wadhwa said discussion on cooperation on specific sectors like civil aviation, trade and investment, hydrocarbons, information and communication, space and cooperation at multilateral forums will also be held.