King Salman`s visit an historic moment for Indonesia

King Salman`s visit an historic moment for Indonesia

Photo document of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) awarded the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia King Abdulaziz Bin Salman Al-Arabia on 12 September 2015. (ANTARA/Rumgapres)

In 2050 Indonesia is predicted to become four major economic powerhouse that will be very potential to be an alternative to Saudi investors."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The upcoming visit by King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia from March 1 to 9, 2017 will be a historic moment for Indonesia because there has been no such a trip for 47 years.

Boarding four Boeing B747-400 and 200, two Boeing B777, and two C-130 Hercules aircraft, the king of Saudi Arabia and his entourage of about 1.5 thousand people, including 10 ministers and 25 princes will arrive in Jakarta on March 1 for a state visit and vacation in Indonesia.

During the historic visit to Indonesia by King Salman, five fields of cooperation that have been agreed will be discussed, namely about the promotion of the arts and cultural heritage, exchange of experts including the health of Hajj and Umrah, the promotion of modern Islam through preaching and the exchange of scholars, increasing the frequency of flights from Indonesia to Saudi, as well as combating cross-border crime.

Other economic cooperation that will also be discussed is about the construction of oil refinery in Cilacap, Central Java, as the result of cooperation between Saudi Aramco and Pertamina with an investment of US$6 billion.

The visit is also related with the realization of the Hajj quota increase, and the protection of Indonesian citizens in Saudi Arabia, as well as those who perform the pilgrimage and umrah.

In the meantime, Middle East observer of the University of Indonesia Dr Yon Machmudi has opined that the visit of the king of Saudi Arabia will have a very significant meaning and strategy for both countries.

"Seen from two sides, this visit to Indonesia is very important because first, it will be the first for the king of Saudi Arabia since the past 47 years, and the second is the change in world politics, especially in the United States which is hostile to Islam and the Middle East," Machmudi remarked here on Friday.

In fact, the PhD graduate from the Australian National University said that since the New Order eras all Indonesian presidents Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid, Megawati Soekarnoputri, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, as well as Joko Widodo (Jokowi) had made several visits to Saudi Arabia.

But the absence of visit to Indonesia by the king of Saudi Arabia since 1970 up to this day is anything unusual, according to the Middle East observer.

Machmudi noted that discriminatory policies of US President Donald Trump against Islam and the Middle East had made investors from Middle East counties feel uncomfortable.

"But Indonesia as the largest Muslim country in the world begins to become the target of investors from countries in the Middle East region," he said.

Machmudi opined that since the leadership of King Abdullah (2005-2015), there has been a shift in the direction of foreign policy of Saudi Arabia by making Asia as an alternative partner in place of Western hegemony.

"In 2050 Indonesia is predicted to become four major economic powerhouse that will be very potential to be an alternative to Saudi investors," he noted.

The Jakarta Metropolitan Police is prepared to provide security during the visit of King Salman to Jakarta.

Police personnel will be deployed on the roads from Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in East Jakarta to the Bogor Presidential Palace, some 40 kilometers south of Jakarta, on March 1, Spokesman for the Jakarta Metropolitan Police Senior Commissioner Argo Yuwono said here on Thursday.

From the Bogor Presidential Palace, the Saudi king and entourage will visit the House of Representatives/Peoples Consultative Assembly (DPR/MPR) Building and perform prayers at Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta on the following.

Argo said the Jakarta Metropolitan Police and the Presidential Security Guards (Paspampres) have standard operating procedure to provide security arrangement for the Saudi kings visit.

Traffic police officers will also be deployed to regulate traffic on the roads where the Saudi king and entourage will pass through, he said.

Argo refused to divulge where the Saudi king and entourage will stay and how many police personnel will be involved in the security arrangement.

From Jakarta, the Saudi kings entourage will proceed their journey to the Indonesian island resort of Bali on March 4 for a six-day vacation.

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) is scheduled to pick up and greet the king on his arrival at the Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Indonesia on March 1.

Presidential Secretariat Media and Press Bureau Chief Bey Machmudin remarked here on Thursday that King Salman will arrive in Indonesia for a state visit on March 1 and will stay until March 9 for a holiday in Bali.

While chairing a limited cabinet meeting on Tuesday, President Jokowi also discussed King Salmans planned visit to Indonesia.

During the first three days, King Salman is scheduled to undertake an official state visit, while he and his entourage will be on vacation in Bali for the next six days.

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya, in a statement made available to ANTARA News on Thursday, said the Saudi Kings vacation in Bali will boost tourism in the island resort.

The profile and popularity of Bali are believed to rise sharply, following the arrival of an influential global figure, such as King Salman of Saudi Arabia.

"Welcome to Indonesia," the minister of tourism said in a message to the King of Saudi Arabia.

Yahya expressed hope that King Salmans visit would encourage more Middle Eastern tourists to visit Indonesia.