Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Indonesia sets up working committee for defense agreements with five countries

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Commission I of the House of Representatives (DPR) have agreed to establish a Working Committee (Panja) to discuss and finalize five defense cooperation bills with India, France, Cambodia, Brazil, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The agreement was reached during a hearing on Wednesday, June 19, 2024.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said that the proposal of these five defense cooperation bills aims to bring strategic benefits to Indonesia, including enhancing defense capabilities, technology transfer, joint research, and human resource development in the defense sector.

According to Retno, such cooperation is crucial to strengthening Indonesia’s national resilience amidst increasing global uncertainties. Moreover, the ratification of these bills is seen as a proactive step in response to the intensifying geopolitical rivalries among major powers.

“These agreements are based on the principles of equality, mutual benefit, and full respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Retno said.

She emphasized that the cooperation agreements adhere to Indonesia’s fundamental principles, particularly the independent and active foreign policy. Retno clarified that these agreements are not defense pacts or military alliances.

“This is about strengthening cooperation to maintain the territorial integrity of Indonesia and to foster friendships with the defense institutions and armed forces of these five countries,” she added.

Deputy Chair of Commission I, Teuku Riefky Harsya, who presided the hearing session, announced that Commission I, along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant government bodies, will jointly establish the Panja for the Ratification of Defense Agreements.

The establishment of the Panja follows responses from nine parliamentary factions, including the agreement on the inventory list of issues (DIM) and explanations assigned to the committee.

The Panja will be chaired by a leader from Commission I, while ministers may be represented by echelon 1 officials. “The next working meeting agenda after the Panja concludes will include the Panja report, mini-faction final opinions, the final government opinion, and the signing of the bill drafts and explanations,” Riefky said.

In addition to Retno, other government officials present at the hearing included Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Pahala Nugraha Mansury, Deputy Minister of Defense Muhammad Herindra, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Defense Donny Ermawan, and Director-General of Legislation at the Ministry of Law and Human Rights Asep Nana Mulyana.

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