While in Davos, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum-WEF was having its annual meeting, in Tokyo, Japan, ministers from 11 member countries of the Trans Pacific Partnership-TPP, met to continue the multilateral organization without the US.
Tuesday, January 23, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, stated that the luster of globalization has now dimmed. The barrier is the protectionist attitude of some countries. Although not addressing the name, this statement is apparently aimed at the United States. Since Trump came to power, the United States has demonstrated a protective stance in trade. Among others by abandoning the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal.
In the same forum last year, when Trump was to enter the White House, Chinese President Xi Jin Ping had already expressed his views on free trade. Not wanting to lag behind China, this year Modi wants India to be an example of free trade by opening the door for investment.
As one of the fastest-growing countries in the BRICS group, (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), India feels it is lagging behind China and seeking to build partnerships with Southeast Asian countries.
Upon returning from Davos, in order to further strengthen cooperation with Southeast Asian countries, Modi invited 10 ASEAN countries to meet on ASEAN-India summit and to celebrate the Republic of India Day, which fell on Friday (26 January). Despite having cultural influence in almost all ASEAN countries, and implementing the Act East policy, India's trade rate with ASEAN only reached 470 million US dollars in 2016-2017. That number is only one-sixth of China -ASEAN trade value.
India is trying to approach ASEAN because China has approached and been accepted in South Asia, by building infrastructure and energy in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. But some Southeast Asian countries in dispute with China, are expecting a bigger role of India in the region.
For Indonesia, the intention of India, who does not want to lose influence in Southeast Asia and ASEAN, is a natural thing. As a country with active and free foreign policy, Indonesia welcomed the intention, and attended India Republic Day celebrations with a delegation led by President Joko Widodo. But of course Indonesia does not want to wobble in other countries battle of influence, including India and China.