Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Australia Indonesia
This is a lesson worth repeating against the strategic narrative of hegemony that too often dominates discussions of Asia – South, Southeast, North and Northeast Asia. As Australians and Indonesians, we believe our governments should seize the opportunity of this rare face-to-face meeting to accelerate a new era in Australian-Indonesian relations. Our two countries expanded their bilateral relations in July 2020 into a comprehensive strategic partnership that reflects the importance of our economic and strategic relations. The Country Strategy Paper identifies five priority pillars for the relationship: (1) strengthening the Economic and Development Partnership; 2) Connect people; 3) Protect our common interests and the region; (4) maritime cooperation; and (5) Contribute to security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific. The CSP marks a new chapter in the strong and dynamic relationship between our two countries. Needless to say, carefully building strategically balanced partnerships is the most important lesson in this regard. This goes beyond domestic politics and makes it clear that regional trust, understanding and stability come from focusing on the main game between neighbouring states. They make it possible to see local politics in the long term. But for the same reason, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that, in Jakarta`s view, one is more equal than the other when it comes to overall strategic partners; and that for all arguments about norms and “spirit,” the underlying explanation for difference is realpolitik. The second reason why the PESCO bodes well is that it points out that Australia and Indonesia consider the security of the region to be in line with their economic growth. Clearly, Indonesia and Australia understand that close national ties are a powerful way to build economic partnerships. Given the competition for economic influence across Southeast Asia, this tells a story not of domination, but of partnership and trust gained over painstaking years of renewed mutual respect.
Today, President Widodo and I proclaimed a new comprehensive strategic partnership between Indonesia and Australia. The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) strengthens our bilateral relations and sets an ambitious agenda for deeper and broader cooperation in all facets of our partnership. On the other hand, CSPs have been used by Vietnam and India as part of a concerted strategy to expand and interlock political cooperation and defence networks, often aimed at involving external countries in the region. Although it is probably more the United States than Australia itself, the Australia-ASEAN CSP fits into this form. This evolving and important part of the Indo-Pacific strategic architecture is fundamentally conducive to Australia`s national interests. The first is continuity and stability. Despite the disruptive political scene in Australia last week, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison made his first attempt to maintain his predecessor`s political continuity at a strategic level. This means that despite the Australian political spectacle that has made headlines around the world, Australia`s strategic image remains solid and its strategic trajectory stable. 7. Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to genuine and increasingly integrated cooperation and greater interoperability.
Defence Ministers signed a renewed Defence Cooperation Agreement to support the growing operational complexity of our defence partnership. The Indonesian government revealed its dismay in an official statement. He felt so troubled that he reminded Australia, one of only two countries with which Indonesia has a comprehensive strategic partnership, of its non-proliferation and other obligations under international law, as well as its obligations to maintain peace under the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation. 16. Ministers agreed that the strategic perspectives of Australia and Indonesia would continue to converge as the two countries navigate a more competitive Indo-Pacific region. The ministers reaffirmed the common interest of both countries in a stable, inclusive, open and resilient region that offers opportunities for economic growth and development, where sovereignty and international law are respected, and where respect for international rules and standards creates lasting peace. 3. Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to deepen cooperation under the five pillars of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) announced in 2018 by President Joko Widodo and Prime Minister Scott Morrison: our economic and development partnership, connecting peoples, ensuring our common interests, maritime cooperation, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific. The partnership between Indonesia and Australia will be a buffer and a force against it. And in an open and cooperative way – in the sense of a close strategic partner.
The fact that ASEAN has accepted Morrison`s offer of a PESCO does not necessarily mean unified trust, strategic congruence, or even that the partnership with Australia is highly valued by all members of the bloc. Instead, in retrospect, it looks like a classic ASEAN balancing act. Given Australia`s strengthened partnership with Indonesia, this is a very good thing. Between partners, CSPs can, if not always, signify and codify trust. These agreements convey a sense of mutual value, strategic direction and a positive intention to further strengthen relations. Jakarta`s concern about Australia`s long-term military ambitions does not seem to extend equally to the actual behavior of the other country with which Indonesia has a comprehensive strategic partnership: China. .