24April2017

Home Editorial Maintaining good relations between Indonesia and Australia

Maintaining good relations between Indonesia and Australia

COMMENTARY, 06.01.2017

Relations among neighboring countries may undergo ups and downs or escalate. So may the relations between Indonesia and Australia. Recently, the relations between the two countries, especially in terms of defense or military cooperation have faced handicaps. The action that insults Pancasila by Australian military education participant has triggered a new escalation. Temporarily, Indonesia has suspended the military cooperation with Australia. Chief of Information Centre of TNI Headquarters, Mayor General Wuryanto explained on January 4 that Indonesia has temporarily suspended some aspects of cooperation, including joint training, education, and exchange of visits among officers.

In regard to this case, Australian Armed Forces, Air Force Marshal, Mark Binskin has sent a letter to General Gatot Nurmantyo and stated that the incident in language training facility of Australian Army conducted by trainee who insulted Pancasila will be investigated and dealt with severely. President Joko Widodo has stated that what happened between Indonesia and Australia does not disrupt good relations of the two countries. Coordination Minister of Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Wiranto also clarified that what the TNI Chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo responding the action in Australian military training does not mean that the termination of the overall defense cooperation. The problem, according to the Indonesian government, will not disturb the bilateral relations between Indonesia Australia that have run well.

The ups and downs of Indonesia-Australia’s relations have occurred several times. Prior to this, in the era of the previous administration, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had taken firm steps to decide the cooperation of several fields with Australia, such as the tapping case conducted by Australian side to a number of state high-ranking officials of Indonesia.

With a few cases that lead to the escalation of relations between the two neighboring countries, Australia always triggers the disturbance instead of Indonesia. As a result, the Australian government always makes clarifications and assures that good relations will always be maintained. The question is why the incident which caused disruption of communication and relations between the two countries disrupted. If the central government of Australia at the highest level has always reflected a commitment to maintain good relations, the lower level‘s commitment should also be the same. Seriousness to maintain good relations must apply thoroughly on all levels. Incompact step may indicate that there are, in fact, misunderstanding and perhaps unfavorable views in understanding the importance of maintaining good relations.

Particularly in the field of defense, holistic understanding becomes very important. Because, the defense is one of the spearheads in maintaining peace and self-image of a state. Indonesia is hoping that the incident which caused disruption of communication and cooperation in the field defense does not happen again and the Australian side may understand well and be wiser.

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