By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Indonesian Ambassador to Mexico Yusra Khan hosted a reception at his Lomas de Chapultepec residence on Thursday, Aug. 30, to commemorate the anniversary of his nation’s 1945 independence.
“This year we are not only celebrating the 73rd anniversary of Indonesian independence, but also the 65th anniversary of bilateral relations between Indonesia and Mexico,” Khan told his guests at the start of the event.
“I am pleased to say that during such a long period, we have successfully advanced the relationship between the people of Indonesia and the people of Mexico.”
Khan went on to say that in accordance with a bilateral Comprehensive Strategic Partnership established in 2013, last year, the two countries established a five-year plan of action to strengthen two-way cooperation in the fields of politics, security, defense, economic development, culture, science and technology, and education.
“The trade relationship between Indonesia and Mexico has entered a new phase,” he said.
Last year, combined binational trade amounts to $1.7 billion, up from $1.4 billion three years ago, according to ProMéxico.
“We are now not only trading commodities, but business between both countries encompasses high technology and value-added goods, including consumer electronics goods, automotive spare parts, airplanes and radioisotopes,” Khan said.
“And there are now an increasing number of Indonesian business people who realize that Mexico has a most strategic position, which offers the perfect access point to the region for our key industries.”
The Southeast Asian archipelago and Mexico are also cooperating in the energy sector.
“The ordinary people in both countries have started to recognize that they have good old friends that live across the Pacific,” the envoy said.
“All those developments are certainly welcome news, but I sincerely believe that there is much more potential we can explore and exploit for the benefit of both our people.”
Khan said that Indonesia is strongly committed to further developing relations with Mexico and expanding the horizon of the bilateral partnership on all levels.
The ambassador also took the opportunity to congratulate his host country on its July 1 elections – the largest in Mexico’s history, which included polling for 3,400 positions, from the presidency to all seats in the two houses of the nation’s Congress to local posts across the country.
“I want to congratulate the people of Mexico for the successful general election last July,” Khan said.
“It was a demonstration of Mexico’s commitment to democracy and freedom, and solid proof of the robustness of the nation’s political institution.”
Khan added that he was certain that “the result will bring great prosperity to the people of Mexico, and further enhancement to bilateral cooperation between Indonesia and Mexico.”
He likewise pointed out that Indonesia too will face a similar election next year, “when our budding democracy will be tested and celebrated once more.”
“We will have our very first general election, in which the president, vice president and members of the legislative, both at the regional and national level, will be elected,” he said.
“This election will be a testament to how far Indonesia has come since our independence 73 years ago.”
Khan concluded by saying that, today, Indonesia continues “its journey to protect, to enrich and to enlighten all Indonesian people, as well as to pursue a world order of freedom, everlasting peace and social justice.”
“For the last four years, we have been striving to improve our national infrastructure, which is a vital element for enhancing our fast economic growth,” he said.
“We are focusing on increasing the connectivity between our islands, to spread development to the outermost fringes of Indonesia. We also are focusing on finding better ways to diversify and distribute energy to fuel those developmental efforts.”
But Khan was quick to add that Indonesia’s effort to develop internally has not overshadowed its commitment to its role on the international stage.
“This year, we have succeeded in our campaign to become a nonpermanent member of the United Nation Security Council for the 2019-2020 period,” he said.
“This will allow us to continue our active role as a true partner for peace and security, a true partner for human rights and a true partner for development.”
He noted that Indonesia was currently hosting the Asian Games, the second-largest sporting event after the Olympics.
The event was hosted in Jakarta and Palembang, which witnessed 11,280 athletes from 45 Asian countries compete in 462 events from 40 disciplines.
“This was a great honor for Indonesia, and we are proud to have been entrusted in projecting the energy of Asia to the world,” Khan said.
Although a sophisticated kingdom existed in Indonesia from early times, it was originally colonized by the Dutch and later the British.
But after more than 350 years of repressive colonial rule, Indonesia proclaimed its independence on Aug. 17, 1945, just days after the Japanese surrender to the Allied Forces.
Today, Indonesia, with more than 17,000 islands, is the world’s largest archipelagic state and the most populous Islamic nation, as well as the third-largest democracy in terms of demographics.
Ethnically, it is highly diverse, with more than 300 indigenous languages.