Indonesia against overcoming disputes with power projection

01-Apr-2019 Intellasia | The Economic Times | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Indonesia’s coordinating minister for maritime affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, said on Wednesday that his country was too big to lean on China and ruled out projection of power as a means to solve territorial disputes, amid Beijing’s attempts to address such issues in the Indo-Pacific region through the use of force.

“As I always mentioned in many international forums, Indonesia is a big nation. And we are too big to lean on one power. And we never agree to overcome disputes with a power projection. Furthermore, the Indonesian government shall always play an active and peaceful role based on our constitution,” Luhut told ET in an interaction amid a busy election season in his country. Luhut is the second most powerful member in the Indonesian cabinet, after President Joko Widodo (Jokowi).

Luhut made the comments when asked about widespread apprehensions over China’s claims in the South China Sea region.

When asked about the India-Indonesia joint vision for the Indo-Pacific region announced last year, Luhut said the synergy between the two countries was based on common interest, to bring benefit for both. Luhut is driving the India agenda in the Indonesian government that is seeking a stronger strategic partnership with New Delhi across sectors from infrastructureNSE -1.00 percent to defence and counter-terrorism.

“Both nations have planned together to develop multiple infrastructure sectors like automotive, mining, port, electricity, airport, water management, hospital…,” Luhut said. On Tuesday, the two sides held a second infrastructure cooperation forum to develop closer synergies.

Luhut is also driving the agenda for India’s first ever deep-sea port in Southeast Asia, located in Western Indonesia. “Sabang is located in the west end of Indonesia. It means that area is the closest city in our country to India,” the minister said. Shipping raw materials and other things from Sabang to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands seems to be an efficient solution to fulfil India’s needs on development,” he said, adding: “Thus, we expect two countries can collaborate to increase thecapacity of the Sabang Port.”

Indonesia would like to see the Sabang Port as the frontier gate of export and import activities in the west region. “We are glad to have India as our initial and important partner to reach this goal. This far, several discussions and early studies have been held between the two sides. A technical team has been sent from India to Sabang to explore possibilities,” the minister said.

Prime minister Narendra Modi and President Jokowi have similar visions for infrastructure development and connectivity, both within their countries as well as in the Indo-Pacific region.


Category: Indonesia

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