Indonesia Defence & Security Report Q1 2015: New research report available at Fast Market Research

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Mon Dec 01 2014

Indonesia benefits from economic, geographic and resource scale, giving the country a substantial advantage over its neighbours. While the co-operative stability of the ASEAN era has in some regards diminished the relevance of this strength, it provides Indonesia with the opportunity to become a key leader for the region. Boasting strong relations with the US, China and key neighbours, Indonesia's regional importance will continue to grow. Successes such as the Komodo multilateral military exercises will boost Jakarta's role in regional affairs.

On the whole, Jakarta has good relations with Beijing. However, Indonesia has at times expressed concern over some Chinese activities in the South China Sea, and Beijing must tread carefully in order to remain on good terms with South East Asia's key state. Indeed, Indonesian pressure will be critical in ensuring that China follows through on its promise to come to the table to negotiate a new Code of Conduct for the South China Sea, although progress to date has been limited, despite the best intentions of Jakarta and Washington, amongst others .

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Indonesia's regional importance as the driving force of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) group has been reinforced in a number of respects. Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited Indonesia in September 2013 and declared that the bilateral relationship with Jakarta's was Australia's 'single most important [one]'. US President Barack Obama cancelled a trip to Indonesia in October 2013 due to political problems back home, and was severely criticised by Asia watchers for passing up an important opportunity to boost relations with key regional allies. His Secretary of State, John Kerry, attended Joko Widodo's inauguration as president in October 2014, putting relations back on a firm footing. The successful hosting of the Komodo Multilateral Naval Exercises in 2014 both highlights and enhances the importance of Indonesia in the region.

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