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Jakarta Post

India, Indonesia poised to reshape ties, recapture the old magic

  • Mahendra Ved

New Delhi   /   Tue, January 25 2011   /  09:34 am

Comparison with lost-and-found plot of a Bollywood potboiler may seem purile, but would be apt. India and Indonesia are on a rediscovery course half a century after the pioneers of post-colonial Asia fell out. In the intervening period, Sukarno, riled with Jawaharlal Nehru, his friend and co-founder of the Non-Aligned Movement, wanted Indian Ocean renamed as Indonesian Ocean. Cold War rivalry sharpened during Soeharto’s pro-Western military dictatorship. It ensured that there was no meeting of minds that could hark back to a millennium and more.Only two things remained constant: Ancient cultural ties and funnily, the Indonesians’ craze for Bollywood films.  India missed out three decades (1960-1990) with Southeast Asia as a whole. But with Indonesia, it was almost four, until Soeharto’s exit and Indonesians’ democracy-first resolve.Last decade’s watching each other, soft d...