Today, 2 April I depart Australia for Indonesia to attend the second Annual 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministers’ Meeting with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr.
This will be my eighth visit to Indonesia as a Minister in the Australian Government, and my second as Defence Minister.
I look forward to meeting with our Ministerial counterparts, Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro and Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, on Wednesday 3 April for the 2+2 Meeting in Jakarta.
Australia and Indonesia have an increasingly important bilateral relationship with strong political, security, trade, investment, development and people-to-people links.
That Indonesia is of great strategic importance to Australia is demonstrated by the increasing number of regular and high-level dialogues we conduct.
This includes a formal Annual Leaders’ Meeting, last held in Darwin in July 2012, the Annual 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministers’ Meeting, first held in Canberra in March last year, and an Annual Defence Ministers’ Meeting, the first of which was held in September 2012 in Indonesia.
Australia and Indonesia cooperate closely in regional and multilateral forums including the East Asia Summit, the G20, the Asia?Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus.
Australia’s bilateral security and strategic cooperation with Indonesia has steadily increased in recent years under the auspices of the Lombok Treaty, which came into effect in February 2008.
The Lombok Treaty provides a modern framework for intensified bilateral cooperation across all areas of defence, law enforcement, counter-terrorism, maritime security and humanitarian and disaster relief.
In September 2012, Defence Minister Purnomo and I signed a Defence Cooperation Arrangement, which provides a formal structure for practical defence cooperation under the Lombok Treaty.
Australia’s defence relationship with Indonesia encourages practical cooperation in counter-terrorism, maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and peacekeeping.
2012 saw the highest tempo of bilateral defence engagement, exercises and training in 15 years. This included a Coordinated Maritime Patrol of our shared maritime borders, and Indonesia’s participation in Exercise Pitch Black for the first time.
This year we are on track to see those levels exceeded. This builds on our traditional areas of cooperation in Officer and English language training, with around 160 positions in Australia to be offered to Indonesian military personnel this year under the bilateral Defence Cooperation Program.
The second Annual 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministers’ Meeting on 3 April is an opportunity to strengthen further the already close practical cooperation and partnership between Indonesia and Australia.
While in Indonesia, I will also deliver a speech to the Indonesia-Australia Defence Alumni Association, IKAHAN, on our strategic challenges and opportunities.
IKAHAN strengthens the people-to-people links between the Australian and Indonesian Defence organisations and encourages deeper engagement on mutual security interests.
Mr Smith's Office: Sacha Fenton (02) 6277 7800 or 0467 784 528
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999