Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/25/2013 -- BMI's Indonesia Defence & Security Report for Q1 2013 examines the country's strategic position in the South East Asian region and the wider world. It provides an overview of the contemporary geopolitical challenges facing the country, and the challenges it may face in the future.
The report examines the trends occurring in the country's current and future defence procurement, and the order of battle across its armed forces. The report's general conclusion is that after many years of strategic isolation, Indonesia is emerging as an important player in the Asia Pacific region. In keeping with this development, the Indonesian military, after years of underinvestment and foreign vilification over its activities in East Timor, is starting to reap the rewards of an increasing defence budget and also of the country's improving international reputation.
First, this means that the Indonesian armed forces are beginning to procure advanced new equipment to replace an inventory that is generally nearing obsolescence. New materiel on order includes Apache Longbow attack helicopters from the United States, Sukhoi fighters from Russian, light combat aircraft from Brazil, tactical transport planes from Spain, and advanced trainer aircraft and diesel-electric submarines from South Korea. A fast-growing defence budget has, of course, enabled these acquisitions.
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Secondly, thanks to its much-improved international reputation, Jakarta is now in a position to obtain used military equipment on relatively favourable terms. Among the second-hand items that Indonesia has acquired relatively cheaply are armoured vehicles, including main battle tanks, from Germany, F-16 fighters from the US, and C-130 transport aircraft from Australia.
Thirdly, Indonesia is beginning to revamp its underperforming domestic defence industry, with a view to achieving self-reliance in key equipment areas in the future. In Asia, key defence industry partners now include China, India and South Korea, while further afield Australia and the UK have recently signed deals with Jakarta aimed at assisting the development of local industry while boosting market access for British and Australian companies.
The only serious clouds on the horizon for Indonesia are domestic. The government is sticking with its military-led policy in the restless province of Papua, despite clear signs that such a policy cannot succeed. A new security bill proposed by the government has produced a political backlash in Jakarta on the grounds that it is too heavy-handed and could undo much of the progress made so far by the democratic reform process.
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