Sabtu, 04 April 2009

U.S. offers help with defense

Desy Nurhayati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The United States offered Monday to help Indonesia address its defense problems, which have forced the archipelago to depend on aging war machines.
Visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Washington was ready to assist Jakarta continue the process of defense reform and enhance its specific defense capabilities, especially in air and maritime domains.
"Any initiatives along these lines by the government of Indonesia will be met with strong U.S. support," Gates told the forum of Indonesian Council on World Affairs (ICWA).
His government's offer reflects a shift from a permanent presence and direct action by U.S. forces.
Gates said U.S. defense policies came as a response to the resurgence of Asian countries, including India, China, Russia and North Korea.
"New centers of power, as well as new sources of instability, are altering Asia's strategic landscapes," he said.
"The challenge for the United States has been to fashion defense policies that adapt to these new security realities."
He did not reveal details of the assistance the U.S. would offer to Indonesia.
Indonesia may have to cut its defense budget in response to soaring oil prices.
Last year, President Bush and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono agreed to expand military-to-military relations between the two countries.
Washington fully restricted arms sales to Jakarta over human rights concerns in 1999, but lifted the embargo in November 2005.
Gates said the Indonesian military had become more capable, professional and comfortable under civilian leadership.
"Americans have believed that in a democracy the armed forces must be firmly and unquestionably under civilian control," he said.
National Resilience Institute (Lemhannas) Chairman Muladi said the U.S. presence in Indonesia was especially aimed at holding back China from expanding its influence.
"China is expanding greatly, I think they have an interest in holding them back ... and Indonesia is the most strategic place to do so," he said.
During his one-day trip here, Gates also met with Yudhoyono and Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono to discuss military cooperation, especially on the procurement of military equipment and joint training.
Juwono said after the meeting at the State Palace that Indonesia sought to purchase six F-16 jet fighters from the U.S to improve the combat skills of the Indonesian Air Force.
"We are considering the U.S offer to buy the latest version of the F-16, to add to the 10 that we already have," Juwono said.
He said the ministry would discuss the matter further with the defense commission of the House of Representatives and the Finance Ministry, but said the procurement was projected for within the next four to five years.
"We're still evaluating the scheme of the purchase, whether to use the Foreign Military Sale or the Foreign Military Financing."
Despite the limited defense budget, Juwono said Indonesia's plan to buy F-16s from the U.S would not affect its earlier agreement with Russia on the procurement of Sukhois.
Juwono said the ministry had yet to decide which jetfighters would be given priority.
"It depends on which will come first, because there are bureaucratic constraints in the U.S, and financing problems in Russia concerning the aircraft procurement process," he said.
Indonesia currently has 10 F-16 Fighting Falcon jets of A/B version, but only six are airworthy. (anw)

... the truth is, for me, i hope this plan never happened. i think it will be better if the airforce buy more sukhoi...

Tidak ada komentar: