Indonesia, Australia restore military ties

28 Feb 2017 | By NewsBytes Desk

Indonesia and Australia restored full military ties weeks after Indonesia cut off all cooperation with Australian defence forces.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull alongside Indonesian President Joko Widodo said, "President Widodo and I have agreed to full restoration of defence cooperation, training exchanges and activities."

Cooperation was suspended in January over allegedly "insulting" teaching material found at an Australian army centre.

In context: Australia-Indonesia relations

Defence relationsIndonesia-Australia defence relations

Indonesia and Australia regularly exchange military personnel and conduct joint training and patrolling exercises.

The relationship soured over Indonesian military violations in the run-up to East Timor's independence from Indonesia in 1999.

After the Bali bombings of 2002, the two nations worked together to fight regional-terrorism.

However, allegations of Australian spying in 2013, and Indonesia's executions of Australian drug-smugglers in 2015 further strained ties.

Counter-terrorism becoming focus of relations

More recently counter-terrorism cooperation has become the focus of Indonesia-Australia defence relations. Indonesian special forces groups train with the Australian Special Air Service as well. In addition, the two countries' navies are setting up joint patrols of the South China Sea.
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Indonesia suspends military ties with Australia

Dec 2016Indonesia suspends military ties with Australia

Indonesia suspended all military ties with Australia saying there were a lot of things about the relationship that needed to improve.

Indonesian Army spokesman Maj Gen Wuryanto said the halt came into force after teaching material that was offensive to Indonesia's founding principles of Pancasila were found.

The Australian military said they took cognizance of the protest and would take action.

What is Pancasila?

Pancasila is the official philosophical foundation of the Indonesian state. Pancasila consists of two Java words derived from Sanskrit: "panca" meaning five, and "sila" meaning principles. The principles are monotheism; just and civilized humanity; the unity of Indonesia; democracy; and social justice for all.

What?What was the offensive material?

Indonesian military spokespersons refused to divulge details of the offensive materials in question.

However, reports from previous years indicate that it may have to do with Indonesia's claims over East Timor, and more recently Indonesia's claims over West Papua.

While Indonesia asserts West Papua is a province in the country, some materials said West Papua was part of Melanesia and should have independence.

28 Feb 2017Indonesia, Australia restore military ties