Australia and Indonesia: The Case for Stronger Military Ties - Future Directions International
Australia and Indonesia have signed a new defence co-operation arrangement to strengthen military ties and deepen bilateral engagement "in. The meeting was the first between Australia's Chief of the Defence Force, Developing closer defence ties with Indonesia, as well as the. The Australia-Indonesia Defence Cooperation Arrangement reaffirms the strength of our longstanding relationship and our intent to deepen our.
But they now have a fair dinkum of a partnership. During the same visit, President Yudhoyono was appointed an Honorary Companion of the Order of Australiathe country's highest civilian honour, for strengthening the bilateral relationship, and promoting democracy and development.
The decision attracted significant criticism from the federal oppositionand Indonesia threatened to take the dispute to the World Trade Organization. Austrade estimates that more than Australian companies operate in Indonesia. Negotiations first started in and the deal is expected to be signed in late Since the trade began in the s, more than 6. Sincewhen Indonesia adopted Law No. Australia is ranked 8th in Indonesia's import list.
Australian aid to Indonesia[ edit ] Indonesia is the largest recipient of Australian aidand Australia is the fourth-largest donor of foreign aid to Indonesia. For three decades, between andAustralian aid programs to Indonesia were coordinated within the international arrangements established by the Inter-Governmental Group on Indonesia and the Consultative Group on Indonesia.
Numerous projects were established such as the Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunication Networka project intended to address deficiencies in Indonesia's civil aviation system. The Australian Electoral Commission formed a partnership with Indonesia's General Elections Commission Komisi Pemilihan Umum, KPUwith the aim of improving its capacity and procedures in the lead-up to the presidential election.
Indonesian Australian The number of permanent settlers arriving in Australia from Indonesia since monthly In the Australian Census63, people listed their country of birth as Indonesia, of whom Most are employed as professional, clerical or administrative workers, or as labourers.
Statistics Indonesia does not measure the number of Australian residents in Indonesia, however tourist arrivals indicate thatAustralians visited Indonesia in Australian residents travelling to Indonesia for less than one year, since monthly Indonesia is Australia's second-most popular tourism destination after New Zealand. The partnership covers air, sea, rail and road transport, providing for up to 27, seats between Indonesia and Australia's main airports each week.
The Timor Gap Treaty of was controversial in Australia, but gave both governments the opportunity to show clear commercial benefit from the developing connections.
Progress has also been embodied in a range of other agreements on matters such as double taxation, extradition, fisheries, protection of investments, copyright protection and technical cooperation. At the level of security, defence cooperation links have expanded, the high profile example of which was the participation of Indonesian troops in the Kangaroo 95 defence exercises.
The increasing connections have been grounded in some convergence of bilateral and regional economic interest between Australia and Indonesia.
While there was little complementarity between the two economies even a decade ago, the opening up of the Indonesian economy to the world market in recent years has been mirrored by the increasing internationalisation of the Australian economy. Indonesia's development from an agricultural country whose foreign exchange earnings came mainly from oil, to an economy with a growing manufacturing sector, has created openings for expansion in trade and investment between the two countries.
Australia's greater economic and political orientation towards its Asian neighbours have allowed these opportunities to be taken up. Recognition of these economic links, as well as awareness of common interests in the development of economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region, facilitated the close cooperation between the Indonesian and Australian government in the development of APEC. Co-operation on APEC was important in fostering the confidence to allow the sensitive negotiations on the Security Agreement to proceed.
The Agreement and Australia-Indonesia Relations While the economic, security and other connections between Australia and Indonesia have gradually built up since the late s, there has been limited awareness of these developments amongst the people of the two countries or amongst the regional community. The Security Agreement represented an opportunity for the two governments to make a public declaration of the increasing closeness of the two neighbours and their confidence in the future of the relationship.
The principal achievement of the Agreement was thus symbolic: The symbolic significance of the Agreement is particularly important for Australia. There have long been fears within sections of the Australian community about a threat to Australia from Indonesian expansionism, a perception which was fuelled by the Indonesian takeover of East Timor in While these perceptions had little grounding in reality, they have continued to live in the recesses of popular imagination in Australia, underscoring a degree of uneasiness amongst some Australians about their place in a region about which they have little understanding.
A major benefit of the Agreement lies in its ability to assuage some of these fears by presenting Indonesia as an 'ally' rather than an 'adversary'. In a wider sense, the Agreement gave a boost to the Australian government's attempts to focus the community's attention on the importance for Australia of the Southeast Asian region.
As journalist Greg Sheridan expressed it, the Agreement told 'the Australian people, and others, the truth about where our long-term national interests lie'.
Following upon Australia's contribution to the Cambodian peace settlement and its important role in giving impetus to APEC, the Agreement implies not only recognition by Indonesia of the importance it accords its relationship with Australia, but also affirms Australia's presence as a significant power linked into the web of relationships in the Southeast Asian and wider Asian region. A commentator in Time magazine observed that Australia's initiatives on APEC and the Security Agreement with Indonesia had 'done more to bring Australia into the regional consciousness than most observers would have thought possible a decade ago.
President Suharto was personally committed to the Agreement which was negotiated without the knowledge of Foreign Minister Ali Alatasa commitment which can be understood in the context of his close relationship with the then Prime Minister, Mr Paul Keating, and the support provided to President Suharto by Mr Keating on issues such as Indonesia's hosting of the APEC summit, and during Indonesia's dispute with the US over human rights issues in The Indonesian Minister of State, Murdiono, quoted President Suharto as saying that the Agreement 'should wipe out any doubts among certain elements in Australia about Indonesia's position'.
The Agreement has also cemented into place the security aspects of Indonesia's strengthening relationship with Australia and affirmed that defence cooperation activities will continue. One Indonesian strategic analyst said that the Agreement would 'neutralise Indonesian aversion' to the Five Power Defence Arrangements'.Interview with Professor Stephen Smith — Australia/Indonesian Relationship
The Agreement and Future Relations Concerns have been expressed within Australia that the Agreement represents some kind of endorsement of the authoritarian character of the Indonesian Government or, more specifically, that it implies support for Indonesia's policies and practices in East Timor. Jose Ramos-Horta of the Timorese National Resistance Council called the Agreement 'a political statement which gives credibility and legitimacy to Indonesia'.
It is unlikely that the Agreement would be used by Indonesia in such a blunt and direct manner, but successive Australian governments will have to cope with the risk that its close security relations with Indonesia could be a source of embarrassment. Not only are there regional conflicts in Indonesia such as East Timor, Irian Jaya and Aceh, but economic and social change is bringing new potential sources of conflicts as pressure for democratisation grows, the emerging working class pushes for trade union rights and Islamic organisations spread their influence.
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 Australian-Indonesian Security Agreement - Issues and Implications
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.
Australia, Indonesia sign new defence co-operation arrangement | Jane's
The Jakarta Post reported Murdiono as saying that the Agreement 'will only formalise existing security cooperation programs'. 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. 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.
- Australia and Indonesia: The Case for Stronger Military Ties
- Australia–Indonesia relations
- Australia, Indonesia sign new defence co-operation arrangement
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. 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.