Today I completed my first official visit to Indonesia, and to the region, as Minister for Defence.
Australia’s relationship with Indonesia is our most important in the region, for reasons of size, geographic proximity and shared mutual interests. Indonesia’s importance to us will only grow as its significant regional influence becomes global.
Australia’s defence partnership with Indonesia has grown significantly in recent years, and we are currently experiencing the highest levels of training and exercising between the Australian and Indonesian defence forces in the past 15 years.
During my visit, I discussed the recent successes of our defence cooperation with my Indonesian counterpart, Minister Yusgiantoro. Together, Australia and Indonesia have now conducted four Coordinated Maritime Security Patrols of our shared maritime borders since 2010. In May this year, we conducted the inaugural bilateral desktop peacekeeping Exercise GARUDA KOOKABURRA. We conducted our first humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise in June, and we established a new infantry Exercise WIRRA JAYA in September. This is all in addition to our existing program of defence engagement, which this year includes an Air Force fighter exercise, two naval exercises, and two counter-hijack and hostage recovery exercises.
Australia and Indonesia continue to progress the transfer of four C-130H aircraft to boost Indonesia’s capacity to respond to natural disasters and humanitarian crises. The first of these aircraft is set to arrive in Indonesia later this year. The Australian Government will also sell an additional five retired C-130H aircraft, along with a simulator and spare parts, to Indonesia at a discounted rate.
Minister Yusgiantoro and I also spoke of how we can broaden and deepen our defence engagement, particularly in response to emerging challenges such as cyber security. I look forward to meeting with Minister Yusgiantoro regularly, including through annual 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministers’ Meetings and annual Defence Ministers' Meetings, so we may continue to build the strategic partnership between our two countries.
I was honoured to lay a wreath at Kalibata Heroes Cemetery yesterday.
I thank Minister Yusgiantoro for the warm hospitality I received throughout the visit.
Rebecca Horton (Minister Johnston’s Office): 0427 449 120