Will Indonesian navy "menenggelamkan" (sink) Australia's nuclear submarines in Indonesian waters?


Well-Known Member
May 1, 2014
1. ...South-east Asia’s largest country has expressed unease about Australia’s dramatic enhancing of its military, notably its intention to use US technology to build eight nuclear-powered submarines as part of the new three-way defence alliance with Washington DC and London.

In a statement issued on Friday, Indonesia foreign affairs spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said Jakarta had taken note of Australia’s decision to acquire nuclear-powered submarines and stressed “Indonesia is deeply concerned over the continuing arms race and power projection in the region”.

“Indonesia stresses the importance of Australia’s commitment to continue meeting all of its nuclear non-proliferation obligations,” the statement said.

“Indonesia calls on Australia to maintain its commitment towards regional peace, stability and security in accordance with the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation [the code of conduct between the Association of South-east Asian Nations].

“Indonesia encourages Australia and other parties concerned to advance dialogue in settling any differences peacefully. In this regard, Indonesia underscores the respect for international law, including UNCLOS 1982 [United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea], in maintaining peace and security in the region.”....

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/d...-australian-nuclear-subs-20210917-p58skz.html

2. As a remote, solitary outpost for the Anglo-Saxons right at the edge of Asia but far away from ancestral Britain, Australia stands out as the "Ugly Duckling", living with unease, insecurity and fear of its Asian neighbours.

Let's take the factors in the tense Australia–Indonesia relations as an example:

(a) Australia's small population of 24.3 million is dwarfed by Indonesia's 260 million.

(b) The Christian majority of Australia's population as compared to Indonesia's Muslim population which is the world's largest.

(c) After nearly 150 years of colonial rule by the Netherlands, a tiny distant West European country with less than 17.5 million people living within a total area of roughly 41,800 km2 at that time, Indonesia naturally has a greater fear and mistrust of its giant white neighbour, the world's sixth largest country.

3. The following disputes have strained Australia–Indonesia relations:

(a) Australia’s 12-year-long support of the Netherlands against Indonesia’s claim that Papua was part of Indonesia.

(b) The long shadow of Australia’s role in the separation of Timor-Leste. Australia stopped conducting joint training exercises with the Kopassus after accusations of abuses by the unit in East Timor in 1999 in the lead-up to the former Indonesian territory's independence.

(c) Two Bali nightclubs were bombed in 2002, killing 202 people including 88 Australians.

(d) Bombing of the Australian embassy in Jakarta in 2004.

(e) Australia’s acceptance of 43 Papuan asylum seekers in 2006 led to the withdrawal of the Indonesian ambassador from Canberra, showing how the conflict in Papua could destabilise the bilateral relationship.

(f) The continued activities of Papuan pro-independence groups in Australia remain an irritant in bilateral relations.

(g) Australia's brief suspension of live cattle exports to Indonesia in 2011 over the cruel treatment of imported live Australian cattle.

(h) Maritime disputes flared up between Indonesia and Australia in mid-January 2014 when the latter carried out naval operations to stem immigrants arriving by boat. Australian naval forces strayed into Indonesian territorial waters on several occasions. Jakarta demanded an apology for the naval incursions and a halt to the policy of turning back vessels towards Indonesia.

(i) Besides the 2013 allegations of Australian spying, ties were also strained in 2015 following Indonesia's criticism of Australia's border protection policy.

(j) Relations became strained in April 2015 when Indonesian President Joko Widodo ignored pleas from Australia to grant clemency to convicted drug traffickers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, who were then executed.

(k) Indonesian special forces group Kopassus trained with the Special Air Service in Perth. Indonesia suspended military cooperation with Australia in 2017 after an Indonesian TNI (Indonesian National Armed Forces) officer found some "laminated teaching materials" at an Australian army language training facility which he considered to be offensive to the Indonesia's founding principle of Pancasila.

(l) In early 2017, General Gatot Nurmantyo, then Indonesia’s armed forces commander, announced the suspension of defence cooperation amid claims that an army training course held in Perth had included an assignment about whether Papua, as a Melanesian society, should be independent.

4. Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, claims a huge exclusive economic zone, which is frequently penetrated by foreign fishing vessels. Since coming to power in October 2014, Indonesia's President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has adopted the policy of publicly sinking illegal fishing vessels operating in its waters as part of his broader vision of turning the country into a “global maritime fulcrum” between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In December 2014, his administration has sunk vessels from Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia, besides seizing dozens more vessels.

Australia’s nuclear-powered submarine deal could stoke tensions with its neighbours, particularly Indonesia. Following the acquisition of at least eight nuclear-powered submarines with the help of the US and Britain under the new pact of AUKUS, Australia could be emboldened to support West Papuan separatism and incur into Indonesia's territorial waters. The Australian new submarines could sneak easily into Indonesian waters. Indonesia will find it impossible to "menenggelamkan" (Indonesian word for "sink") the Australian submarines as they have already sunk themselves beneath the water surface, unless Indonesia has the ability to sink them further into the seabed.

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