|Subject: RI Told to Use Strategic Leverage
in U.S. Defense Cooperation [+China Opens Door]
The Jakarta Post Friday, April 20, 2007
Indonesia told to use leverage in defense coop
Tony Hotland, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Given its strengthened strategic condition, Indonesia should fight unilateral intervention in Southeast Asia by the United States and demand that the superpower recognize Indonesia's role in securing the region, military analysts have said.
A University of Indonesia military analyst, Andi Widjajanto, said Indonesia's cooperation in defense with powerful nations such as China, Russia and India has strengthened the country's standing in the region.
"We are in a position to demand that the U.S. recognize what we do in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and rebuke any unilateral intervention," he said, adding that Indonesia was the key player in the region and an important ally to the U.S. in the war against terrorism.
The Defense Ministry concluded here Thursday the fifth Indonesia-USA Security Dialog. The two-day forum addressed a range of issues, including the war in Iraq, terrorism, the Asia-Pacific situation and security assistance programs.
The dialog was initiated to reinstate defense cooperation between the two countries following a U.S. arms ban on Indonesia in the wake of violence in East Timor in 1999.
The ASEAN Security Community, as envisaged by Bali Concord II, adheres to principles of non-alignment, peace-oriented attitudes, conflict resolution through non-violent means and the renunciation of nuclear weapons, arms races and the threat or use of force.
"The U.S. should be able to see that Indonesia has many options and strategic partners if it ever pushes us," Andi said.
Although the U.S. has lifted its military restrictions on Indonesia, Jakarta still requires a guarantee that Washington will not impose another embargo in the future, he said.
"We need to be alert and make sure the U.S. does not use non-defense issues as a means to get its defense interests accommodated. We need American weaponry and spare-parts to revitalize our arms, which were largely procured from America," he said.
Indonesia, Andi added, also needed to take advantage of military personnel exchanges between the two countries, in order to be updated on the latest military technology.
It is expected that by 2010, 70 percent of Indonesia's weaponry will have been provided by Russia through a US$1 billion deal sealed last year.
Indonesia has already purchased four Sukhoi jet fighters and is expecting more units to be delivered.
Ikrar Nusa Bakti, an analyst at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, said Indonesia had gained sufficient capital to stand on equal footing with the U.S. when discussing defense cooperation.
"But what's more important is whether the Defense Ministry is itself clear on the country's future defense strategies and on how to anticipate both conventional and non-conventional threats. From here, we can set what we can (gain) from the U.S.," he said.
Ikrar said joint military training programs with the U.S. remained essential for Indonesian soldiers and ensured continuous military collaboration.
TNI, Australian Armed Forces Agree To Enhance Cooperation
April 19, 2007 13:59 PM
CANBERRA, April 19 (Bernama) --Australia agreed to enhance cooperation with Indonesia in non-combat military operations, humanitarian operations, war against terrorism, and in the operations of UN peacekeeping forces, Antara reported Thursday.
The agreement was taken up in bilateral talks between Indonesian Military (TNI) Chief Air Marshal Djoko Suyanto and his Australian counterpart Marshal Allan Grant (Angus) Houston, and Australian Army Chief of Staff Lt Gen P.F. Leahy in Canberra, Australia, on Thursday.
The news agency quoted Djoko as saying that the cooperation between the two countries' armed forces had been well established not only in joint exercises, education and training, but also in the exchange of staff as well.
In relation to the Framework of Security Agreement between Indonesia and Australia signed in Lombok last year, the Indonesian military chief said that the security agreement had already been taken up by the military chiefs of the two countries and would be further referred to their defense ministers.
At 4 p.m local time, the Indonesian military chief and entourage took the opportunity to lay floral wreaths at the Australian War Memorial.
Houston hosted a dinner in honour of the the Indonesian military chief, at his official residence Wednesday night.
The Indonesian military chief was reciprocating a visit to Indonesia made by his counterpart some time ago.
Marshal Djoko Suyanto was also scheduled to meet with Prime Minister John Howard in Sydney.
Meanwhile, according to the Indonesian embassy in Canberra, the defense cooperation between the two countries dated back in 1968 with a mapping programme in Indonesia.
In the 1980s, the cooperation was accommodated under the Indonesia-Australia Defense Cooperation Programme (DCP).
The DCP covers routine activities each year including a meeting held in the two countries on rotation basis. Some of the cooperation took the form of the Kartika-Kangaroo (Army) exercise, Albatros (Air Force) exercise, and the Kakadu, Cassoary, Passex and Cakrawala exercises, as well in the procurement of patrol boats and Nomad air planes.
Military cooperation had been somewhat disrupted by the East Timor crisis in 1999, with the discontinuation of all DCP activities except training programmes.
The two sides had tried to restore normal cooperation which was marked with the signing of the bilateral cooperation and informal talks between Indonesian defense officials and their Australian counterparts in 2001.
The Jakarta Post
Friday, April 20, 2007
China opens door to military and other cooperation
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The Chinese ambassador to Jakarta says the door is wide open for Indonesia to establish a security and defense cooperation without any hidden political agenda.
"Within recent years we have seen an increase in military-to-military cooperation between the two sides. China is ready to offer Indonesia military hardware without any political strings," Chinese ambassador Lan Lijun said Thursday.
"It is up to Indonesia to make a proposal. We have no problem because we feel that the Chinese military hardware, in terms of quality and price, is in a better competitive condition."
Talking to more than a hundred business persons, academics and journalists at the Aryaduta Hotel in Central Jakarta, Lan said that it was up to the two sides to discuss the kind of military cooperation, but a request by the Indonesian government would be very important.
"We have made a proposal to the Indonesian side. It is up to the Indonesian government to follow it up," he told reporters at the event.
Lan said in a prepared speech that since 2005, the two countries had established a strategic partnership, the first China has ever had with any single Southeast Asian country in the political, economics, cultural, educational, scientific, technological and military sectors.
He also emphasized the two countries should focus on several areas, such as enhancing high-level strategic dialogs as well as inter-departmental exchanges at all levels, accommodating each other's concerns, integrating the political and economic fronts of relations, and exchanges between parliaments, local governments and social establishments.
"China will continue to support the efforts of the Indonesian government in combating separatist forces and safeguarding national unification, and appreciates the Indonesian government for taking a One China policy as a political basis for developing bilateral relations," Lan said.
Since 2005, China and Indonesia have cooperated in strategic industries, such as the aircraft, steel and military hardware industries.
The secretary general of the Indonesian Defense Ministry, Lt. Gen. Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin, and the general chief of staff of the People's Liberation Army, Lt. Gen. Zhang Qinsheng, signed a memorandum of understanding on defense and security matters on April 3 in Beijing, China.
The agreement will be officially signed by both countries' defense ministers in September.
"We had agreed to bilaterally develop military technology and industry, and in turn we are not only aiming at the transfer of technology and technical assistance, but also at joint production of military equipment," said Sjafrie, as reported by Kompas daily newspaper on April 4.
------------------------------------------ Joyo Indonesia News Service