Indonesia was up in arms over AUKUS but its Defence Minister has different take

Indonesia was up in arms over AUKUS but its Defence Minister has different take

Indonesia’s Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, left, with President Joko Widodo.CREDIT:AP

Singapore: Indonesia Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto has revealed a pragmatism in Jakarta about Australia’s nuclear-powered submarine ambitions, saying he understands countries “will do whatever they can to protect themselves”.

Indonesia and Malaysia have expressed concerns publicly about the new trilateral defence agreement AUKUS being a potential catalyst for an intensifying build-up of arms in the region.

Prabowo, a likely presidential candidate again in the 2024 Indonesian elections after two unsuccessful runs, also repeated Jakarta’s formal stance during an appearance at a Middle East security forum. But the former army general conveyed a different perspective about AUKUS, the security deal between Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom under which Australia is to acquire a fleet of nuclear-propelled submarines.

“Officially, our position is that of course south-east Asia should remain nuclear-free. And the fear of course among south-east Asian nations is that this will spark an arms race … this will spark more countries seeking nuclear submarines,” Prabowo said during an appearance at the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Manama Dialogue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *