ASEAN Beat | Security | Southeast Asia

UK-Indonesia Military Ties in the Headlines with Minister of State Visit

The trip highlighted continuing efforts by both sides to make advances in defense collaboration.

Prashanth Parameswaran
UK-Indonesia Military Ties in the Headlines with Minister of State Visit
Credit: KEMHAN Indonesia

Last week, the UK’s minister of state of the defense ministry paid a visit to Indonesia. The trip highlighted the continuing efforts by both sides to make advances in the defense aspect of their broader bilateral relationship.

The defense relationship between Indonesia and the UK exists within the wider arc of diplomatic ties. The defense aspect of the relationship was formalized in a memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation inked by the two sides in London back in 2012. Since then, there have been some efforts to develop aspects of defense cooperation, including joint consultations as well as the people-to-people ties.

That has continued on into 2019 as well, a landmark year for ties since as both sides commemorate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between them. In June 2019, for instance, both countries held the first iteration of their Joint Defense Cooperation Dialogue (JDCD) in London, which was a notable advance for the security aspect of ties. During that meeting, both sides had agreed to advance several priority areas of cooperation including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counterterrorism, and peacekeeping operations, and maritime security, and also discussed other issues including cybersecurity.

Last week, the defense aspect of the relationship was in the headlines again with the visit of the UK minister of state of the defense ministry. HE Baroness Goldie DL and her delegation were on scheduled visit to Indonesia which saw them engage in a series of meetings while in Jakarta, including a meeting with Indonesia’s Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu that occurred on September 26.

During the meeting, both sides discussed the state of their defense relations and also discussed regional and international issues of mutual interest. According to Indonesia’s defense ministry (KEMHAN), during the meeting, Ryacudu said that Indonesia appreciated the good relations and cooperation that had been built between the two countries thus far, and also reinforced the considerations Indonesia continues to be guided by in its defense ties, including building mutual trust, strengthening its defense capacity, and building up its own defense industry.

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Unsurprisingly, no further specifics were publicly disclosed by either side on their private deliberations. Nonetheless, as both sides continue on with their commemoration activities and we see incremental gains being made in defense ties, engagements such as these will continue to be important to monitor to get a sense of how the two countries intend to turning their aspirations into reality in the coming months and years.