Indonesia’s Security Ties with India and the US Tighten

Indonesia is developing a closer ties with the US Army and India to help protect its territorial lands and waters.

No country can know what lies ahead in this never-ending conflict of claiming territorial lands and waters. Seeking help and tightening security ties with other countries could be the best approach to prevent invasion.

Tighter Security Ties with the US Army

Indonesia’s Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto discussed stronger security ties with US Army Chief of Staff James McConville on May 12, 2023. the meeting is about pushing defence relationships in the midst of burgeoning Chinese maritime activity in the Indo-Pacific region. They discussed strategies to deepen collaboration, involving heightened military exercises between the said countries.

“We have many friends in the region, and we work closely together. We all share the same interests for the region: peace, security, stability. That’s why we work together on maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific for everyone,” said McConville.

The US Army Chief of Staff added that both countries are concerned about promoting and keeping peace and stability in the region. However, he affirmed Indonesia’s neutral stance and emphasized its wants to maintain a good relationship with other nations, including those with major powers.

A day before McConville’s meeting with Indonesia’s defence minister, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) joined a summit in Indonesia. They discussed territorial disputes and sovereignty in the South China Sea. China claims all of it but is also claimed partly by the Philippines, Brunei, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia.

This controversial sea is a haven for shipping lines, abundant fish stocks, and underwater mineral resources. China and ASEAN countries have made little progress in settling a code of conduct to prevent conflict build-up in the area. The ASEAN leaders resumed a call for self-restraint regarding territorial disputes to shun disagreements and miscalculations.

Possible Air Force Tie Expansion with India

The air force-level ties between India and Indonesia might seem underdeveloped, but they have solid naval ties. Both countries conduct regular CORPAT naval patrols and Garuda Shakti special forces exercises. They also commenced a six-day Samudra Shakti exercise held in Batam, Indonesia.

“Indonesia is an archipelago with thousands of scattered islands. Therefore, maritime connectivity and maritime cooperation has been the focus for the country. If you look at the country’s defence modernization, the focus is firstly on the navy, then the army and finally the air force,” according to Premesha Saha of the Observer Research Foundation’s Strategic Studies Programme.

Saha added that due to Indonesia’s maritime focus, developing airforce and army collaboration became less prioritized. She said focusing on the defence partnership might be on shared challenges like illegal fishing, grey-zone activities, and maritime piracy.

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