Strenghtening Defense Capabilities Are Need to Guard Our National Economic Progress

Strenghtening Defense Capabilities Are Need to Guard Our National Economic Progress

During a limited Cabinet meeting that was held on board the Imam Bonjol warship in the Natuna waters on Thursday, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo asked the Indonesian Military and the Maritime Security Board (Bakamla) to upgrade their capabilities to safeguard Indonesian territorial waters. “I ask the military and Bakamla to upgrade their capabilities to safeguard our territorial waters in terms of technology, equipment, radar and preparedness,” Jokowi said in a statement distributed to the media.

The statement came on a rare occasion when President Jokowi visited the Natuna Islands to hold a limited Cabinet meeting on board the same navy warship that clashed with Chinese fishing vessels last week, apparently trying to send a clear message that Jakarta will not accept any claim by Beijing over the area.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi stressed the fact that two-thirds of Indonesian territory consist of water and therefore President Jokowi gives serious attention to the country’s maritime sovereignty.

“Since the President took office, he always emphasizes two things: first, the development of the outer areas should become a priority; second, the country’s sovereignty should be maintained and upheld,” Retno said. “On this occasion, the President comes to the Natuna Islands as they are among the country’s outer islands,” she added.

Meanwhile, the government and the House of Representatives’ budget committee agreed Thursday to allocate more funds to the Defense Ministry and the National Police in the revised draft of the 2016 state budget. The ministry will get an additional Rp 6.6 trillion (US$499 million) while the National Police will get Rp 5.7 trillion from a total of Rp 18 trillion in additional expenditures for ministries and institutions.

Previously, the government allocated Rp 99.9 trillion and Rp 72.4 trillion for the Defense Ministry and the National Police, respectively, in the original draft state budget.

The additional expenditure of Rp 18 trillion will be sourced from higher revenues projected from the increase in the Indonesia Crude Price (ICP) assumption to $40 per barrel from a previous assumption of $35 and average oil production of 820,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) from 810,000 bopd. It will also come from a lower budget deficit assumption of 2.35 percent from 2.48 percent set in the previous draft.

The Finance Ministry’s director general for budgeting, Askolani, said the Defense Ministry needed to upgrade its primary weaponry system while the National Police were also in need of new equipment. The ministry had proposed almost Rp 100 trillion for the system upgrade during hearings with House Commission I overseeing legal, defense and security affairs.

Twenty ministries and institutions will receive additional budget allocations, including the National Narcotics Agency (Rp 400 billion), the National Encryption Agency (Rp 950 billion) and the Attorney General’s Office (Rp 300 billion).

A Maritime Sovereignty

As a maritime country, the decision of the government of Indonesia to upgrade the capabilities of the Indonesian Military and the Maritime Security Board (Bakamla) to safeguard Indonesian territorial waters is a right political decision because the territory of Indonesia mostly has surrounded by waters (ocean and sea). Besides, Indonesia has a huge potential economy which is driven from waters factor. Therefore, Jokowi’s administration has decided to strength a national economic from waters economic capabilities baseline.

So, Jokowi’s administration has built a sea-toll, restructuring and modernizing a number of a main harbour including some harbour in Eastern Indonesia such as North Sulawesi, Moluccas, Papua and North Moluccas to boost a regional economic progress.

In line with Jokowi’s n administration purposes, strengthening and maintaining our maritime security and a maritime sovereignty must be done, because only we have a maritime security, we can create a number of jobs from its. If a country has a maritime security, its mean one has a maritime sovereignty too.

Furthermore, since Jokowi took office, he always emphasizes two things: first, the development of the outer areas should become a priority; second, the country’s sovereignty should be maintained and upheld.

Strengthening our maritime security must be done considering Indonesia doesn’t has an enough capabilities to maintain it because our primary weaponry system (Alutsista) need to upgrade. Furthermore, illegal fishing by a foreign fisherman is always happened everyday in our oceans. Its could make a national deficit budget, so Indonesian government must be tackle it.

Usually, a major powers countries such as Chinese, the United States, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, Russia, India and a number of rising economic countries such as Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, South Africa ets also each year always give a more national expendicture to strenght and to maintain their primary weaponry system including their military and police capabilities. They were did that to guard their national economic progress.

Our maritime sectors and our geography landscape are a strategic regional powers, its mean a number of countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and some of ASEAN countries are depending on our maritime security. If our maritime security has been turbulence, it could make a regional maritime security is turbulence too.

For instance, if Indonesia is close their maritime territory in Lombok bay and Java strait, an Australia’s economic could be warmer because they must pay more money to make an import and export could be done, so its mean an Australia economic is unefficient.

Last but not lease, the latest purposes from Jokowi’s administration has upheld our maritime security and maritime sovereignty are to boost and to spark our national economic progress. Indonesia doesn’t has a military invation to another countries from its national policy, but Indonesia doesn’t take any surrender of give up from all of manuevre which is claimed Indonesia’s territory. Indonesia loves a peace, but we are more concern about our national pride and national dignity. To implementing that, strengthening defense capabilities must be done.

Toni Ervianto1*) Toni Ervianto is a political, defense and economic observer. His master graduate is earned from the University of Indonesia (UI) and a doctoral candidate.

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