‘Corruption as much a problem in Indonesia as in India’


Lucknow: Corruption is as much a menace in Indonesia as it is in India, the Indonesian envoy to India said Thursday.

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Lt. Gen (retd) A.M.Ghalib, who was here on a a three-day official visit, said development and economic progress would see a new high in India once corruption levels were curbed, though he clarified corruption cannot “be blamed on any individual as this is a part of growth in any democracy”.

Hailing India as an emerging super power, the ambassador said India would soon surpass China in many areas.

Stressing the age-old cultural ties between the two countries, Ghalib said his country had a lot to pick up from India. He noted trade between the two countries has already gone up from $5 billion in 2005 to $11 billion today, and according to estimates, this would cross $20 billion in the next ten years.

“While Indonesia has lots of coal and rubber which it is exporting to India, what we seek is advancement in information technology, which is India’s forte,” he said, adding among the other areas where Indonesia was looking up to India were the health and pharmaceutical sectors, “where there was tremendous potential”.

He said people in Indonesia had already begun to see India as a favourite destination for specialised medical treatment and care and medicines too were much cheaper here in comparison to their country.

Ghalib said it was a “pleasant surprise” for him to find India far more developed and advanced than what he had understood through the media.

“It was only after coming here that I realised how much this country had grown, otherwise left to the Western media, this great country’s achievements have always been undermined,” he said.

“In fact, we have been facing the same problem back home about which only the bad things are highlighted in the world media, controlled entirely by the West,” he added.

With a view to promoting free exchange of people between the two countries, Indonesia recently extended the facility of visa on arrival to all Indians, Ghalib said, adding he hoped “this new arrangement will give a big boost to tourism between the two nations”.