Subject: JP: TNI told to seek non-U.S. military aid

Also: Jakarta rejects local military training

The Jakarta Post September 17, 2002

TNI told to seek non-U.S. military aid

Dadan Wijaksana and Musthofid, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Legislators recommended on Monday that the Indonesian Military (TNI) maintain the nation's dignity and sovereignty by seeking other sources of military aid to end dependency on the U.S. and to curb the resulting U.S. interference in Indonesia's affairs.

The recommendation was made during a hearing between House Commission I on security affairs and TNI Chief Gen. Endriartono Sutarto.

"The TNI must start looking for other sources of military cooperation," legislator Amris Hassan of the Indonesian Democratic Party Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) said after the hearing.

"Too much dependency on the U.S. has resulted in (U.S.) interference," he added.

Effendi Choirie, a member of the National Awakening Party (PKB) faction, concurred, citing the U.S. demand for Indonesia's cooperation in the former's campaign against global terrorism was a form of "excessive interference" in order to guarantee military aid from the U.S.

Effendi also demanded that TNI abandon its plan to dispatch a number of Indonesian middle-ranking officers to attend short military courses in the U.S.

The TNI planned to send five officers to the U.S. to undergo a 15-month training at the Naval post-graduate school in California, which was slated to begin this month. The course is a counter-terrorism fellowship program hosted by the U.S.

The legislators' call came amidst renewed pressure from a number of U.S. congressmen for Washington to reverse a recent Senate decision to restore the International Military Education and Training (IMET) funding for Indonesia, citing continued human rights violations by the military.

The U.S. suspended the ties with TNI in 1999 following TNI-backed violence in East Timor after the former Indonesian province voted for independence. The cooperation scheme through IMET resumed only recently when the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to provide US$400,000 to help Indonesia wage war on terrorism.

"Britain is willing to help and it does not seem to be as demanding as the U.S.," said Effendi.

Other than Britain, the legislators failed to name other countries with whom TNI could cooperate as an alternative to the U.S.

Endriartono, too, failed to present a clear-cut solution to the proposal that could mean sidelining the U.S.

When asked whether TNI needed to start forging military ties with other countries, he said diplomatically: "Working with other countries in the military field is important."

He rejected allegations that the TNI was bowing to American wishes. "We always position ourselves on the same level with those giving us aid, including in our relations with the U.S."

"If we deem it as too domineering, we are against it," he added.

Military observer Ikrar Nusa Bhakti from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), when contacted by The Jakarta Post separately, doubted Indonesia's ability to forgo its military dependency on the U.S.

"Indonesia's military arsenals, be they light or heavy, mostly come from the U.S. The government, during (President Megawati Soekarnoputri's) recent whirlwind tour of some countries, was seen trying to diversify the weaponry.

"The question is whether we can buy military equipment in cash. Do other countries provide credit export facilities as the U.S. does?" said Ikrar.

While admitting that the U.S. had been too demanding on Indonesia, Ikrar said the U.S. attitude was understandable.

"It's a logical consequence of our dependency on (Washington's) aid."

Received from Joyo Indonesia News

The Australian September 16, 2002

-front page-

Jakarta rejects local military training

By Don Greenlees * Jakarta correspondent

A PLAN to train Indonesian military cadet officers at the Australian Defence Force Academy has been scuttled because of objections by senior commanders at Jakarta's armed forces headquarters.

Australia planned to induct seven officers into the tri-service officers academy in Canberra next year as part of a low-key rebuilding of the military relationship with Indonesia, which was shattered by the 1999 East Timor crisis.

On a visit to Jakarta in March, Defence Minister Robert Hill won agreement from the Indonesian Defence Ministry for Indonesian cadet officers to enrol as undergraduates at the ADFA.

nnouncing the headline initiative of his visit, Senator Hill described the plans to offer Indonesian cadets ADFA degree courses and military training as a "good investment" in the future of the military relationship.

It means Indonesia better understands our military doctrine and our values and it means they get the professional training that we can offer," he said.

Defence Department spokesman in Canberra confirmed the Indonesians rejected the offer because it was "not consistent with their current training priorities".

owever, military sources said Indonesian armed forces headquarters vetoed the ADFA training because it wanted junior officers to be instilled with its own values before any training overseas. Indonesia continues to send officers each year to attend graduate courses at Australian staff colleges.

espite the setback to plans to build training links, Australia and Indonesia are pushing ahead with a cautious restoration of military ties, placing particular emphasis on anti-terrorism co-operation.

ince Senator Hill's visit, several senior Indonesian officers have made low-key visits to Australia, including chief of the armed forces intelligence agency, Air Vice-Marshall Ian Santoso.

nder a memorandum of understanding on terrorism, Australia and Indonesia have agreed to increase intelligence exchanges.

hat coincides with US moves to restore training links with the Indonesian military after they were severed because of Indonesia's human rights record in East Timor. The US offered a $US50 million ($91 million) program of training and assistance, with much of the money dedicated to counter-terrorism activities.

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