Paving the way for a meaningful strategic Indonesia-Saudi partnership

Paving the way for a meaningful strategic Indonesia-Saudi partnership
President Joko Widodo delivers his State of The Nation address in Jakarta. (AP)
Updated 18 August 2019

Paving the way for a meaningful strategic Indonesia-Saudi partnership

Paving the way for a meaningful strategic Indonesia-Saudi partnership
  • For most Indonesians, Saudi Arabia is a spiritual home.

Long before the historical visit of King Salman, Saudi Arabia was among the first countries in the world that acknowledged the independence of Indonesia. The following visit of the first President of Indonesia to the Kingdom and of King Faizal bin Abdul Aziz to Indonesia in 1970 signified this long-established relationship.

For most Indonesians, Saudi Arabia is a spiritual home where the Ka’bah and the Masjid Nabawi are located. Roughly 100,000 Indonesians arrive in the Kingdom every month, roaming around Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah visiting holy sites, not to mention the 230,000 annual Hajj visitors.

It is an annual exchange dating well beyond the formation of the two modern nations.

For over a millennia, there have been ties between Arab traders and people in Nusantara, the archipelago now called Indonesia, with the flow of people as constant as the flow of trade and culture.

Indonesia has one of the 10 largest global diasporas. Out of approximately 23 million Indonesians living abroad, with 400,000 currently residing in the Kingdom. Many Indonesians living in the country have gone on to take Saudi citizenship, as characterized by various family names hinting at Indonesian origins, such as Al-Banten, Al-Palemban, Al-Manduri, and Al-Banjari. 

The huge number of Indonesian citizens and descendants in Saudi Arabia have strengthened relations between the two countries. Language, another bridge to cooperation and progress, is also highly valued by the two states. Since 2006, the Consulate General of Indonesia in Jeddah has initiated the Bahasa Indonesia Untuk Penutur Asing program (BIPA – Indonesian Language for Foreigners). So far, over a thousand Saudis have participated in it.  

In tourism, the visit of King Salman to Indonesia in March 2017 left a very important imprint. 

The so-called “King Salman Route,” the places where King Salman visited in Indonesia, has entered the lexicon of tourist operators, such is its popularity with Saudi and other foreign guests.

Spreading the concept of moderate Islam, as coined by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the ideas of Islam Wasatiyyah in Indonesia, is also an area of shared objectives. Indonesia believes in “the Middle Way of Islam” of moderation in the practice of the Islamic faith, as a response to the spread of extremism.

Considering the vital role of the media in selecting, organizing and emphasizing the news, and how the media influences what we think about ourselves and other nations, I would like to propose a reciprocal visit between Indonesian and Saudi media outlets. Both parties can learn extensively from each other, and hopefully can bring something positive to

By 2030, Indonesia could have the world’s 7th largest economy according to the McKinsey report, and the 4th  most powerful economy in the world by 2050, according to  PricewaterhouseCooper. The door is always open to the Saudi people to set their footprints down here, and seize the business opportunities offered by Indonesia.  The same invitation also goes to Indonesian entrepreneurs to take the opportunity provided by the Kingdom. 

Along with the tremendous effort in diversifying its economy through Saudi Vision 2030, the Kingdom reinforces its activities to achieve a vibrant society, a thriving economy, and an ambitious nation.

I believe it now the time for us to cherish our strategic partnership.


Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Iraqi president discuss cooperation

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Iraqi president discuss cooperation
Updated 6 min 24 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Iraqi president discuss cooperation

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Iraqi president discuss cooperation
  • They discussed relations and ways of enhancing them in all fields

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a phone call from Iraqi President Barham Salih, Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.
During the call, they reviewed relations between the two countries, in addition to discussing ways of enhancing bilateral cooperation in a way that serves the interests of the two countries in various fields, within the framework of the Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council.
Saudi Arabia and Iraq opened the Arar border crossing for trade for the first time in three decades in November last year. The crossing had been closed since 1990 after the two countries cut ties following Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.
Also in November, a Saudi delegation led by the Kingdom’s commerce and industry and agricultural ministers visited Baghdad as part of the framework of the Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council and the Economic, Trade, Investment, Development and Joint Relief Committee.
A Saudi-Iraqi businessmen forum was also launched on the side-lines of the visit, under the auspices of the Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. 
The Saudi-Iraqi rapprochement extends back to 2015, when Saudi Arabia reopened its embassy in Baghdad following a 25-year break.
In July Saudi Arabia and Iraq signed investment agreements on energy and sports.