(L-R) Mr Dalbir S. Kapoor, Committee Head for International Trade, North Sumatra Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Ms Sujata Sudarshan, CEO, OIFC; Mr. Bashir Ahmed, Consul General of India-Medan; H.E. Gatot Pujonugroho, Governor of North Sumatra; Mr. Rajiv Mehrishi, Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and Chairman, OIFC; H.E. Gurjit Singh, Ambassador of India to Indonesia, Timor Leste and ASEAN; Mr. Tohar Sumarsono, (Acting) Chairman of KADIN (Indonesian Chamber of Commerce) of North Sumatra; Ms Renuka Singh, Head–External Relations, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII); Dr. Renuka Mishra, Joint Director (ED & FSB), MOIA, and Mr Julius S. Kapoor, Vice President, Komite Olahraga Nasional Indonesia
Hundreds of members of the India diaspora from Medan, Indonesia, gathered at the Grand Aston City Hall Hotel in Medan on July 16, 2013 to participate in the OIFC Diaspora Engagement Meet. The event was organized in partnership with the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Consulate General of India-Medan. The OIFC—Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre—is a public-private-partnership between the MOIA and the CII. It was launched by Indian Prime Dr Manmohan Singh at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in 2007.
The objective such economic engagement platforms is to acquaint the Indian Diaspora comprising NRIs and PIOs with various trade and investment opportunities in India which could benefit their businesses and at the same time improve trade ties. They also seek to strengthen India
Diaspora’s engagement with India’s growth story and provide a platform to synergize linkages in the economic, social and cultural fields.
It was for the very first time that such an Indian Community Meet was organized in the capital of North Sumatra province in Indonesia. Among those who addressed the meet were:
# H.E. Gatot Pujonugroho, Governor of North Sumatra.
# Mr Rajiv Mehrishi, Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and Chairman,
# H.E. Gurjit Singh, Ambassador of India to Indonesia, Timor Leste and
# Mr. Bashir Ahmed, Consul General of India.
# Mr Tohar Sumarsano, the acting Chairman of KADIN (Indonesian Chamber of Commerce) of North Sumatra.
(L-R) H.E. Gurjit Singh, Ambassador of India to Indonesia, Timor Leste and ASEAN; H.E. Gatot Pujonugroho, Governor of North Sumatra; Mr. Tohar Sumarsono, (Acting) Chairman of KADIN (Indonesian Chamber of Commerce) of North Sumatra; Mr. Bashir Ahmed, Consul General of India-Medan; and Mr. Rajiv Mehrishi, Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and Chairman OIFC
Mr. Bashir Ahmed pointed out that “there are an estimated 50,000 Indians and PIOs living in the entire Sumatra region, and approximately 20,000 in Medan alone. There have been free exchanges of ideas, customs and traditions between the Indian Community and local Sumatra population for centuries. The Indian community had adjusted and incorporated several elements from the Sumatran society.”
Mr. Tohar Sumarsono observed that “North Sumatra has many important resources and to support them the Government was trying to complete some important projects in order to fast forward the development of the entire Medan region. The projects are Kuala Namu Airport, Fly Over, Medan-Binjai highways, and Palm Oil plantation project centered in Simalungun. I hope that the Indian Government will collaborate to invest into these projects.” In addition, he appreciated the OIFC Diaspora Engagement Meet and was hopeful that it would be a starting point for cooperation between India and Indonesia, and for North Sumatra in particular.
H.E. Gurjit Singh said “approximately 50% of the population in India and Indonesia is less than 35-years-old. This situation will contribute to a demographic dividend.” He apprised the delegates that trade between Indonesia and India was booming in recent years, but the next frontier would be in increasing investments in both countries. “The challenge now is to look at investment being the next frontier and to see how trade can be diversified by having cross investments,” Mr. Singh said. “We have few business delegations from India to Indonesia, planned in 2013 to discuss business with Indonesian companies.” He requested the Indonesian Government to organize similar business delegations to India.
H.E. Gatot Pujonugroho said “The ancient relationship between the two countries could be proven by the 10th-century inscriptions at Barus. One of the theories is that Gujarati merchants actually brought Moslem into Indonesia, which means that the bilateral relationship between two countries had been going on for years prior to that. The meeting would inspire the North Sumatra Government in designing the development plan of Medan to move forward and hopefully the relationship between the two countries will improve especially with the possibility of investment in the palm oil plantation, infrastructure and other projects in Medan.” He also stated that on the occasion, North Sumatra Government hoped to get some advice and guidance from the Indian Government on how to further boost and develop the standards of Indian residents in
Mr Rajiv Mehrishi said that “keeping in view the Government of India’s deep commitment towards engaging Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) with the land of their ancestors, the Overseas Citizenship of India Scheme (OCI) had been launched in 2005. A registered Overseas Citizen of India is granted multiple entry, multi-purpose, life-long visa for visiting India, and is exempted from registration with Foreigners Regional Registration Office for any length of stay in India. The OCI card holders are treated at par with Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in terms of maintaining of bank accounts in India or acquiring / holding of immovable properties (except agricultural/ plantation land)”. He added that “They are allowed to make portfolio investments in India up to 5% of paid up value of shares / debentures of Indian companies on individual basis and 10% at aggregate level.”
(L-R) H.E. Gatot Pujonugroho, Governor of North Sumatra; Mr. Rajiv Mehrishi, Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and Chairman OIFC; Mr. Tohar Sumarsono, (Acting) Chairman of KADIN (Indonesian Chamber of Commerce) of North Sumatra; Mr. Bashir Ahmed, Consul General of India-Medan; and H.E. Gurjit Singh, Ambassador of India to Indonesia Timor Leste and ASEAN
EVENT IN JAKARTA
Following the successful event in Medan, the second Diaspora Engagement Meet in Jakarta was inaugurated by Mr. H.S. Dillon, Presidential Special Envoy on Poverty Alleviation, Republic of Indonesia on July 18, 2013. Panel discussions were held on “The role of Indian Diaspora in Indonesian economy and in strengthening economic relations between India and Indonesia.” Presentations were also made on economic engagement opportunities with India. The sessions, through panel discussions, provided an opportunity for the delegates to meet with important stakeholders such as senior representatives of Government of India and Indian Industry experts.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Dillon spoke about the historical ties of Indian Diaspora with Indonesia as evidenced by monumental landmarks such as Borobudur and Temple at Prambanan which bears testimony to the Indian influence in Indonesia. He recalled how India was the first country to recognize Indonesia as a free nation and mentioned about the pivotal role played by President Sukarno and Prime Minister Nehru during the Bandung Conference. In contemporary times, Mr. Dillon added, both India and Indonesia are emerging power houses with its own unique strength and challenges. Acknowledging the role of Indian Diaspora in Indonesia, Mr Dillon said both countries could work together on their strengths and complement each other’s development especially in the field of science and technology, transportation, defence, education and
Welcoming the delegates, Ambassador Singh said that the Indian Diaspora has made significant contributions to the Indonesian economy over the years. The profile of the Diaspora has shifted to high growth areas such as service and investment industry. The presence of most Indian majors in Indonesia like TATA, Reliance, Essar, TVS, Adani, and Indo Rama with significant investment in coal, oil, synthetics, power, motor vehicles, speaks volumes on the confidence reposed in the Indonesian economy. Ambassador Singh added that Indian companies in Indonesia not only created more jobs but also created local capacity, import substitution and contributed to Indonesian exports. Ambassador also lauded the service industry in which a large number of Indians figure in the higher echelons of management—especially in areas such as banking and