"Often, we focus on East Asia or other regions, but there is significant development in South Asia," a former Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic Indonesia said, during a discussion on international politics here Friday (Jan. 6).
One major development can be seen in India, which is the largest country in this region and has been improving its economy and defense power, Djalal noted.
"The Indian economy has been growing rapidly, supported by its overseas companies," a former Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia in United States said.
"In the defense sector, India already has an aircraft carrier," he added.
Further, the South Asian countries are located in the Indian Ocean, which is important to Indonesias security, and hence the national foreign policy experts must take this region seriously, he asserted.
Importantly, Indonesia can use its chairmanship (2015-2017) of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) to establish more stability in the region, which is seeing interstate and inter-regional conflicts such as the India-Pakistan border dispute over Kashmir and India-China attempt to exert geopolitical influence in the Arabian Sea, Djalal explained.
"We must play a role to maintain security there (South Asia)," he said.
Currently, as the chair of IORA, Indonesia is working to finalize the IORA Concord and the Action Plan 2017.
Both documents are technical and include a practical code of conduct for good governance to help countries face new challenges in the Indian Ocean region.
(Reporting by Roy Rosa Bahtiar/A060/INE/KR-BSR/B003)