Asia Defense

India, Indonesia to Cooperate on Maritime Security, Defense Procurement

New Delhi wants to support the development of Indonesia’s military and defense industry.

India, Indonesia to Cooperate on Maritime Security, Defense Procurement

Indonesia Navy ship KRI Pattimura entering Port Blair during the Indian–Indonesia Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT).

Credit: Indian Navy Photo

India wants to support the development of Indonesia’s military and defense industry, the Indonesian Ministry of Defense (MoD) noted August 10.

Following a meeting between Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu and India’s ambassador to Indonesia, Gurjit Singh, on August 10, the MoD said the defense partnership between the two countries would focus on two key areas. Both of these were touched on when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Indonesian president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo last year in Myanmar.

The first area was a general joint commitment by the two countries to enhance maritime security for mutual and global benefit. This is already an area of focus, with both countries engaging in coordinated patrols as well as joint bilateral and multilateral exercises in surrounding waters. The maritime realm is also one realm ripe for greater cooperation flagged in Singh’s new book, Masala Bumbu: Enhancing the India-Indonesia Partnership, which highlights the need to diversify the bilateral relationship. Singh specifically thanked Indonesia’s Navy (TNI-AL) for its role in coordinated patrols with the Indian Navy in the Andaman Sea. He also referenced Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s ambitions to make Indonesia a global maritime power – a key policy priority (See: “The Trouble With Indonesia’s Foreign Policy Priorities Under Jokowi”).

The second was a more specific interest expressed by India to collaborate in defense procurement, including through funding, technology, and technology transfers. This makes sense for both sides. India wants to boost its defense exports as part of its broader objective of enhancing cooperation with Southeast Asian states via its ‘Act East’ policy under Modi (See: “India Navy Chief to Boost Defense Cooperation on Southeast Asia Voyage”). Meanwhile, Indonesia is looking to enhance its defense capabilities and build an indigenous defense industry as it seeks to achieve a Minimum Essential Force by 2024 (See: An Indonesian Defense Revolution Under Jokowi?”).

The MoD did not specify exactly what the future shape of this cooperation might look like. India already does supply some defense equipment to Indonesia, especially the navy. But according to IHS Jane’s, some future promising areas may include a program to provide patrol vessels to Indonesia, expanding an existing commercial agreement covering naval systems between Indonesian and Indian shipbuilders PT PAL and Pipavav Defense, and enhancing cooperation in military aerospace programs between PT Dirgantara Indonesia and Hindustan Aeronautics.