The United States Secretary of Defence, 4 Star General Lloyd Austin met today with Indonesia’s Minister of Defence, Prabowo Subianto to discuss the augmentation of the two nations’ defence partnership.
The two officials came together on a range of issues but discussions focused mainly on the creation of a shared vision, emphasised by the two nations shared values as well as the importance of a stronger partnership.
Great to meet today with Minister @Prabowo and discuss how the United States and Indonesia are enhancing our defense relationship. We share a vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific – and our two countries are delivering together in important ways.
— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) August 24, 2023
In terms of a shared vision, in a statement released today by the United States DOD, the department claimed “Minister Prabowo and Secretary Austin agreed that the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific and the United States’ Indo-Pacific Strategy share fundamental principles, such as a commitment to maintaining peace, security, stability, and prosperity in the region through ASEAN Centrality, and that we should work alongside partners who share these goals and a commitment to an open, inclusive, and rules-based order. They shared the view that the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea are inconsistent with international law as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.”
Continuing on the matter of a stronger strategic partnership, the white paper outlined “that the United States and Indonesia hold more than 220 defense engagements annually, from subject-matter expert exchanges to multilateral exercises with thousands of troops, all demonstrating the breadth of our interoperability. They discussed how, in recent years, we have expanded Exercise GARUDA SHIELD from a bilateral army-to-army exercise to a joint, multinational exercise with over nineteen countries represented, and they committed to seek further opportunities for expansion. Together, Secretary Austin and Minister Prabowo reaffirmed the importance of Indonesia’s military modernization and discussed both countries’ mutual intention to deepen interoperability through defense capabilities like fighter aircraft upgrades, new multi-role fighter aircraft, and additional fixed and rotary wing transport aircraft.”
Finally, with an emphasis on increased cooperation on the basis of their shared values, the DOD noted, “the commitment by the United States and Indonesia, as two of the world’s largest democracies, to the rule of law and the professionalization of our armed forces. They highlighted that for the first time this year, there were Indonesian cadets in the Army, Air Force, and Naval service academies. Minister Prabowo expressed his appreciation for the education of more than 7,000 Indonesian military personnel and civilians in the United States, as well as training and education funds that have been provided to Indonesian students by the United States, totaling more than $130 million since 1970. Going forward, as part of our professionalization efforts, Minister Prabowo and Secretary Austin pledged to work together to promote civilian harm mitigation best practices. They also discussed how our efforts to mitigate and respond to civilian harm directly reflect our values and directly contribute to mission success and public confidence in the armed forces.”
In recent years, the two nations have sought to solidify a strong strategic partnership in the wake of China’s increasingly assertive actions as a result of the age-old territorial claims it has in the South China Sea and the Indonesian Natuna Sea.