Australia and indonesia defence relationship questions

Indonesia country brief - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

australia and indonesia defence relationship questions

Defence cooperation between Australia and Indonesia has improved and remains the root of current problems in the nations' relationship. Indonesia-Australia Defense Ties in Focus With Ministerial Meeting to the Indonesian defense ministry, a whole host of issues were on the. Australian and Indonesian defence cooperation has significantly increased for use in natural disasters and humanitarian issues to Indonesia.

Since the prime function of the Indonesian military will, for the foreseeable future, remain internal security, individuals or units of the Indonesian military are liable to be accused of human rights abuses. The possibility that they might be revealed to have had training in Australia or had other links with Australia should not be ruled out. Most commentators have concluded that Australia has gained more from the Agreement than has Indonesia.

The domestic political significance for Australia is much greater because popular perceptions of Indonesia as a threat are not reciprocated in Indonesia, and Australia needs to engage with its Southeast Asian neighbours more than they need to engage with Australia. In these circumstances the political and defence establishment in Jakarta probably sees the Agreement as less significant than do their counterparts in Canberra.

Public presentation of the Agreement in Indonesia has tended to emphasise those aspects covering defence cooperation activities such as joint exercises and training, rather than those parts which infer a commitment to mutual defence.

The Jakarta Post reported Murdiono as saying that the Agreement 'will only formalise existing security cooperation programs'.

Indonesia restores military ties with Australia after latest neighbourly dispute

During his visit to Jakarta in Aprilthe Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Alexander Downer, said that he and his Indonesian counterpart, Mr Ali Alatas, had discussed their common desire to 'build on the mutual Security Agreement' and that there was 'substantial scope for further cooperation in the area of security'. These provisions are in large part self-explanatory. The provision for regular meetings between Ministers is new, that on cooperation more a recognition of a trend which has been developing ever since Australian-Indonesian security relations returned to an even keel after the Sydney Morning Herald article affair a decade ago.

It has yet to be made clear whether the consultations will involve both sides' Defence and Foreign Ministers, or only one Minister from each country.

The significance of these provisions lies less in real security gains for either party than in the formalisation and recognition of conditions already in place.

Nevertheless, regular dialogue at Ministerial level on security matters can only be considered a positive development. Formal security treaties have been uncommon events in recent times. Though the latter country has not been actively involved for ten years the treaty, as between Australia and the United States, remains operative. Article 5 declares that: In particular, it does not say that an armed attack against one party would be considered an attack against all, nor is there any reference to the use of armed force.

The parties will consult together whenever in the opinion of any of them the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened in the Pacific.

australia and indonesia defence relationship questions

Each party recognises that an armed attack in the Pacific area on any of the parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes. This is not to say that more might not be done; but the treaty of itself imposes no obligation to do more.

Article 2 obliges the parties to 'consult' and 'consider measures which might be taken' in the event of 'adverse challenges'. It is fully open to either party, or both, once having consulted, to do nothing at all if that is what is judged to be in the national interest.

This being so, the debate about the use of the term "adverse challenges" can be put into context. Were either party to interpret this phrase in ways which the other found inappropriate - for instance, by trying to involve its partner in its internal security problems - there would be no obligation to do more than consult.

A reply could then be made to the effect that, in the particular case, it was not felt that any action should be taken; and this would be wholly consistent with the Agreement's provisions.

Cooperative security activities The third Article of the Agreement provides for 'mutually beneficial cooperative activities in the security field' in areas to be identified. This really represents no more than a statement of what has been going on for some years, with Indonesian forces visiting Australia for training or exercises and vice-versa. The Australian and Indonesian navies have been conducting exercises on an opportunity basis - so-called PASEXs, where ships which encounter each other in the normal run of events will conduct a suitable small-scale drill or exercise - for several years.

Nevertheless, the formalisation which the Agreement provides affirms the success of previous activities and suggests that funds being available some expansion may be possible. The provision that cooperative security activities are to take place in areas identified by the parties refers less to geographical areas than to types of activities which both countries might agree to conduct in cooperation. Habibie, was reportedly 'impressed by the sophistication of military hardware he saw during a visit to Australia' inone type of cooperation which may be sought by Indonesia under the Agreement is likely to be in the field of defence science.

This provides both countries with an escape hatch, permitting either to reject any proposed activity - eg, one which might involve a sensitive technology transfer - without in any way violating the Agreement. Conclusion The Indonesia-Australia Agreement on Security is a product of the increasingly close relations between the governments of the two countries and of the development of substantial common interests in trade, investment and regional security. Indonesia's decision to break with tradition and sign a bilateral security agreement should be understood in the context of its efforts in recent years to develop a wider and more active foreign policy.

While ASEAN remains Indonesia's prime focus, a new confidence born of the country's economic success, combined with emerging regional and international uncertainties in the post-Cold War world, has induced the Indonesian government under President Suharto's leadership to enlarge its network of relationships.

These developments have dovetailed with the increasing internationalisation of the Australian economy and with Australia's push to develop closer relations with the countries of Southeast Asia.

For Australia, the Agreement symbolises the progress the Australian Government has made in developing one of the country's most important but most difficult bilateral relationships, and in winning recognition as a significant player in regional affairs. The Agreement will also assist in assuaging community fears about Indonesian intentions towards Australia.

For Indonesia, the Agreement formalises the defence cooperation relationship with Australia, and contributes towards its long-term goals of winning recognition as a stable, rapidly developing country with substantial international connections, including with Western democracies.

It is important to emphasise, however, that the terms of the Agreement are largely symbolic. This is not to downplay its importance; symbolic statements are central to the conduct of international affairs. Rather, it means that the Agreement does not commit either party to the defence of the other or draw them into any kind of binding pact. The elements of the Agreement which deal with defence cooperation have only the effect of formalising activities which already exist.

The main potential problem in the Agreement from the Australian Government's point of view might come from the perception that the Agreement gives legitimacy to the internal security activities of the Indonesian military, particularly in East Timor and Irian Jaya. Suggestions that the Agreement might be invoked by Indonesia to place pressure on Australia, or to involve Australia in internal Indonesia conflicts seem far-fetched, but as defence cooperation between the two countries is expanded, the Australian Government will have to act with care to ensure that it is not embarrassed by being linked to possible human rights abuses by the Indonesian military.

Such considerations apart, however, the Indonesian-Australia Security Agreement highlights the progress which has been made in Australia-Indonesia relations in recent years, in the field of security and in the wider arena. The Agreement also provides impetus for future cooperation between the two countries and creates a framework in which cooperation can develop.

Transcript of the Prime Minister, the Hon.

Indonesia-Australia alliance: The state of defence cooperation

Issued by Prime Minister's Office. Keating wrong on secrecy for Indonesia treaty, News Release from D. Williams, 19 December Asia Yearbookp 14, Weatherbee, 'Southeast Asia at Mid-Decade: Statement by the Prime Minister, Hon. Indonesia, Junepp.

Both countries see them as important to maintaining regional peace and security. When it comes to the threat of jihadist terrorism, Australia and Indonesia are both committed to the fight. Jakarta has been very active and successful in destroying regional terrorist networks based on Indonesian soil. As democratic middle powers that have enjoyed the security and prosperity of the existing regional order, Canberra and Jakarta have a shared interest in seeing peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific that is based on respect for international law and well-established norms of behaviour.

The Australian-Indonesian Security Agreement - Issues and Implications

A path forward for the relationship Reframing the relationship toward these shared regional concerns offers a path forward. Creating a greater mutual understanding of how Australia and Indonesia share complementary priorities will help bolster a relationship in need of greater resilience against the inevitable bilateral waxes and wanes.

Fortunately, this has become increasingly recognised by leaders in both countries. He then followed by immediately pivoting to the region: The bilateral relationship is underpinned by a series of regular high-level meetings. In addition to elevating the relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership leaders discussed a range of bilateral, regional and global issues including expanding our trade, investment and economic cooperation, efforts to fight terrorism and defeat transnational crime and the importance of working together to bolster a rule-based international order.

During the visit Australia and Indonesia also announced the successful conclusion of negotiations on the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreementas well as memoranda of understanding on cyber cooperation, transportation and the creative economy. President Widodo visited Australia for his first official state visit on 26 February Leaders acknowledged the deep historical ties between Australia and Indonesia as the foundation for a strong 21st century partnership.

Leaders discussed investment and creating jobs, safeguarding our open sea lanes, cooperating to fight terrorism and deter transnational crime, and celebrating both countries diversity by building deeper community understanding of each other's societies, languages and cultures.

australia and indonesia defence relationship questions

Former Prime Minister Turnbull previously visited Indonesia on 12 November where he met President Widodo to discuss infrastructure, trade and investment and our common interest in countering violent extremism before making one of President Widodo's famous blusukan impromptu visits to the Tanah Abang textile market in Jakarta.

Former Foreign Minister Bishop visited Indonesia 10 times. Most recently from August during which she officially opened the Consulate-General in Surabaya. Ministers welcomed the opportunity to exchange frank views on the geo-strategic shifts underway in the Indo-Pacific, recognising our shared security and prosperity is affected by developments in both the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

The meeting discussed the importance of effective maritime cooperation as a key part of Australia's joint response to the region's strategic challenges. It also considered how we can do more together in areas such as counter-terrorism and cyber security. Read the Joint Statement. This represents the next step in boosting Australia-Indonesia maritime cooperation following the signing of the Joint Declaration in February Recent bilateral visits include: Both countries reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening bilateral relations in August by signing a Joint Understanding on the implementation of the Lombok Treaty, which provides an agreed approach to enhancing intelligence cooperation.

Australia and Indonesia also work closely on a range of common strategic interests in regional and global fora.