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New Beginnings, New Possibilities

Embassy of India


New Beginnings, New Possibilities

Mr. Mochammad Firman Hidayat, Deputy Coordinating Minister of Maritime Resources, Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Investment, Indonesia led a high-level delegation on a visit to India from 1st-5th April 2024 and held extensive meetings at New Delhi, Bangalore, Tuticorin, and Chennai with government officials, academics, researchers and entrepreneurs.

2.    The working visit was aimed at fostering collaboration in the field of biotechnology, digital inclusion, agriculture, and to study the world’s largest free school lunch programme with the objective of implementing a similar programme to provide quality meals to school students in Indonesia. 

3.    The visit commenced with meeting Mr. Rajesh Gokhale, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, followed by a visit to the National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR). Discussions were centered on biotechnological research, development, and the innovation ecosystem in India. Further exploring the idea at the Ministry of Earth Sciences, both sides interacted on potential areas of cooperation, such as reducing marine debris, aqua culture, bio-material, bio-fuel, and early warning for earthquakes. There is a great deal of interest among the Indonesian delegates about Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) and the impact it has had on biotech startup ecosystem in India  (

4.    At the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, New Delhi, discussions focused on Digital Public Infrastructure, India's road map and best practices including the Jan Dhan Aadhar Mobile (JAM) trinity initiative of India for financial inclusion and accessibility. As digital inclusion and connectivity is one of the top domestic priorities of the Indonesian government, the discussions proved relevant.

5.    JAM trinity, a  part of India Stack links the bank accounts, Aadhar (unique identity), and mobile numbers of Indian citizens. One of the greatest success of this digitalisation was realised during Covid-19 pandemic when the government transferred benefits directly to beneficiaries without any requirement of in person or material movements.

6.    Expanding on the vision of newly elected President and Vice-President, one of the main objectives of the delegation was to learn about the "Midday Meal Scheme" of India. Recently, Mr. Gibran Rakabuming, Vice-President elect and current Mayor of Surakarta, during his meeting with Sandeep Chakravorty, Ambassador of Inda, also appreciated India’s success in providing free meals to the school students, saying that, "taking a page from India was appropriate, given the apparent success of its school lunch program and that country’s relatively comparable population size."

7.    Interaction at the Ministry of Education was on Midday Meal Scheme and its implementation including factors like logistics, nutritional value, challenges, role of central and state governments. Deputy Minister Firman commended the programme and expressed interest in its adoption. This was continued in Bangalore, where a working tour to Akshaya Patra’s kitchen facilities was organised. Akshaya Patra is a not for profit organisation which is Government of India’s largest partner in operating the Midday Meal Scheme in India. Deputy Minister Firman observed, "Indonesian delegation got a lot of insights and knowledge from the tour and hoped for a similar facility in Indonesia to make the domestic midday meal plan a success." 

8.    Delving deeper into India's digital infrastructure landscape, visit to the Centre for Digital Public Infrastructure was next on the agenda. Commenting on the visit, Tanushka Vaid, Co-lead for DPI Justice and DPI Training, said "Digital Public Infrastructure approach helps in building inclusive, innovative, competitive digital economies. CDPI is excited to see the progress being made in this direction by Indonesia, and will work with the teams to draft some low-investment, high impact wins that could quickly deliver results to the people."

9.    To strengthen possibilities of cooperation in Blue Economy, the Indonesian experts visited Sea6 facilities in Bangalore and Tuticorin. Notably, in March 2024, Sea6 Energy launched world’s first large scale mechanised tropical seaweed farm at Lombok in Indonesia. A large portion of the seaweed at Sea6 factory at Tuticorin is imported from Indonesia. According to Shrikumar Suryanarayanan, Chairman and co-founder of Sea6 Energy, "Sea6 Energy had good discussions especially related to BIRAC. There was mutual agreement of expanding footprints of BIRAC in Indonesia." The research and development facilities of Sea6 Energy in Bangalore focus on use of seaweed for agriculture, aquaculture, food ingredients, renewable chemicals, bio-plastics as well as bio-fuel. "India and Indonesia have great potential to collaborate in the areas of sustainable energy and green future" was the view of delegation member Cahyadi Rasyid, Assistant Deputy for Aquaculture (

10.    In Chennai, a visit to the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), which is pioneer in ocean technology research in India was undertaken. Dr. G A Ramadass, Director, NIOT, met with the delegation and took them around laboratories and facilities at NIOT and briefed them about current projects and work in the field of ocean currents and maritime technology. 

11.    At Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, under the guidance of Mr. V Kamakoti, Director, and Prof. Raghunathan Rengaswamy, Dean of the Global Engagement Division, the delegation saw the demonstration of production of bio-crude from seaweed. Visit to Research Park and Incubation Cell, which integrate academia, research, and industry into one platform and provide support to start-ups throughout the pre-incubation, incubation, and post-incubation mentorship stages to help transform "ideas" into commercially viable "products" impressed the delegation. Such support to start-ups can act as a force multiplier in India and Indonesia to fulfill their Sustainable Development Goals related to food security, green and renewable energy, and to promote inclusive and sustainable development. Both sides also discussed the idea of exchange of students as well as conducting joint research programmes with Indonesian students at IIT-M for higher studies including Doctorate programme. 

12.    Senior officials from Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Investment, Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform, Ministry of National Development Planning, Ministry of Industry, National Defense University, National Research and Innovation Agency, and Tony Blair Institute, Jakarta formed part of the delegation. According to the delegation members, the visit has opened new doors of collaboration for both countries as they share similar challenges for addressing and balancing the economic growth along with social inclusion.

At the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT)

Deputy Coordinating Minister for Maritime Resources of Indonesia, H.E. Mochammad Firman Hidayat with Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSEL), Ministry of Education, Shri Sanjay Kumar.


At the Centre for Digital Public Infrastructure


At the Akshaya Patra Foundation

At the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES)

Visit at Sea6 Energy facilities

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