I too want to start by saying thank you very much to our good friends, to Mr Marsudi and Mr Prabowo. Thank you very much for the warm welcome and for the very constructive engagement and the way in which we’ve been able to converse and to agree on matters of mutual interest to us. It’s been very important.
Marise and I are travelling to several countries on this trip, but we were always going to make Indonesia our first port of call. We are very pleased to be back in this wonderful country. Our nations are age-old natural neighbours and good friends, and our respect mutually and our engagement is at an all-time high.
After World War II Australia championed Indonesia’s independence and since then – and indeed for more than 75 years – our partnership has grown more robust. The ties between our citizens have become tighter. We’ve helped each other in times of crises, in tsunamis, in bushfires, in cyclones and now pandemics.
I want to, again, express my condolences to the families of the submariners of KRI Nanggala-402. I know the Australian service men and women who supported Indonesia’s ultimately tragic search for the missing submarine were absolutely heartbroken. We are nations united by our people, by our democracy, our geography and our history, and our relationship is essential and enduring.
When President Widodo visited Australia in February last year he said, “In the midst of enormous challenges, Indonesia and Australia must focus on strengthening our partnership. Indonesia and Australia must become the anchors for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.” And that’s exactly what we have been doing during this 2+2 Ministers’ meetings.
An increasingly contested region, we’ve been boosting our comprehensive strategic partnership. We’ve been bolstering our security cooperation, which is enshrined in the 2006 Lombok Treaty.
We are building on our defence cooperation arrangement, which was first signed in 2012. And, indeed, Minister Prabowo and I have today signed a renewed arrangement as he pointed out before.
It will deepen our forces’ interoperability and enhance our cooperation and of course our navies regularly exercise together already, but there will be more that they can do together. Indonesian officials shared their humanitarian and disaster relief expertise during Exercise Crocodile Response in May of this year and as recently as July, military officers from Indonesia observed Exercise Talisman Sabre – Australia’s largest military exercise with the United States.
Our renewed defence cooperation arrangement will see Australia and Indonesia step up our training initiatives, our joint training initiatives, and defence operational activities over the coming years.
We’ve also agreed to grow our defence education programs. I look forward very much to hosting the cadets from the Indonesian National Armed Forces studying at Australian defence education facilities, building relationships among future leaders from both sides. Already 35 Indonesian officers, students and their families are in Australia undertaking long-term studies on at our defence colleges.
In terms of cyber security cooperation, 16 Indonesian defence officials have completed training in Australia and I’m pleased to announce that Australia will provide 15 Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles to Indonesia’s peacekeeping operations. These four-wheel drives carry up to nine infantry officers. They provide protection from explosive devices and from small arms fire. They can be used for a wide variety of missions.
So, with both our nations still contending with the pandemic, Australia does stand ready to provide further assistance in whatever we can in relation to the response to Covid-19 and in our support of the Indonesian armed forces. Australia is proud to have supported the TNI with two shipments of personal protective equipment and testing kits, and Australia and Indonesia are committed to ensuring our region remains safe and secure, peaceful, and prosperous.
We will continue to work with other partners in Southeast Asia building on our existing and excellent relationships, and in so doing supporting ASEAN’s neutrality, our region’s security and protection and the ASEAN outcome in the Indo-Pacific. As anchors of cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, Australia and Indonesia must continue to work together – working together and working with others to help bring certainty and stability to our region.
I want to say thank you again to our hosts today. Your hospitality has been exceptional. I do feel that we’re sincerely with wonderful friends. And I look forward to the next visit to Indonesia and, indeed, I look forward to welcoming our ministerial hosts to Australia at some time in the near future. Thank you very much.