India and Indonesia
today decided to significantly enhance their defence cooperation with
the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony declaring his meeting with his
Indonesian counterpart Mr Purnomo Yusgiantoro as a ‘turning point’ and
an ‘excellent beginning’.
This was the first Ministerial level biennial defence dialogue between
the two countries which lasted nearly two hours. The two sides exchanged
views on a whole range of issues relating to regional and global
security, bilateral exercises involving Services, training,
co-production of defence equipment and ammunitions and visits at high
The defence dialogue mechanism at the highest level was agreed upon
during the visit of Indonesian President SusiloBambangYudhoyono to India
in January last year.
Giving an overview of India’s perspective on global and regional
security, Shri Antony said the threat of terrorism perpetuated by State
and non-State actors affects all of us equally. Shri Antony said some
times, the acts of individual terrorists and terrorist organizations are
also actively or otherwise encouraged by allowing such organizations
safe refuge and other forms of support. ‘It is seen that there are
countries from where terrorists are free to launch their operations
against other countries. This cannot be tolerated. The world is paying a
heavy price for such mindless policies. No country should allow its
territory to be used for any form of terrorism, directed against any
other country or its people, Shri Antony said.
Dealing at length the power rivalries in the Indian Ocean Region, Shri
Antony said although these are being conducted in local theatres, the
impact is felt in the wider regional arena and also, globally. He said,
we have a stake in the maintenance of peace and stability in our
immediate and extended neighbourhood. This includes the entire Indian
Ocean region to our east and west. ‘We have a vital stake in the
evolution of balance security and cooperation mechanisms through which
we can build consensus and pursue dialogue. We seek to improve our
partnership with all countries in the Indian Ocean Region on bilateral
basis as well as through multilateral for a like IONS, IOR-ARC etc’, he
Replying to a question from reporters on South China Sea, after the
meeting, Shri Antony said maintenance of peace and security in the
region is of vital interest to the international community. ‘Our view is
that all countries should exercise restraint and resolve the issue
through dialogues according to principles of international law. He said,
India supports the freedom of navigation and access to resources in
accordance with principles of international law. These principles should
be respected by all.
The two sides also exchanged views on the emerging scenario in
Afghanistan and West Asia.
The two sides noted with satisfaction that Defence Cooperation
constitutes one of the principal focus areas of their diversified
relationship. Encouraged by the success of the first Joint Exercise on
Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare in India earlier this year, Shri
Antony proposed that the two countries should continue the joint
exercises between the two armies on a mutually agreed frequency.
Similarly, the two navies are regularly conducting coordinated maritime
patrols (CORPAT). He said we can examine the possibility of enhancing
the engagement through conduct of joint naval exercises. He also offered
to Indonesia establishment of a formal maritime domain information
sharing arrangement between the two navies.
On the Air Force side, Shri Antony said a high level Indian Air Force
team would send a team to finalise details of training and spares
support package, once the Indonesian Air Force firms up its
Shri Antony was assisted by a high-level delegation including the
Defence Secretary Shri Shashikant Sharma, Indian Ambassador to
Indonesia, Shri Gurjit Singh, CISC Vice Admiral SPS Cheema, C-in-C
Andaman & Nicobar Command Lt Gen NC Marwah and DG Ordnance Factory Board
Shri SK Beri.
Shri Antony invited Mr Yusgiantoro to visit India for the next round of
talks next year and the same was accepted.
Earlier, on his arrival at the Defence Ministry Headquarters in Jakarta,
Shri Antony was accorded an Inter-Services guard of honour.