Rafale Purchase Enhances RI-France Partnership
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo also emphasized the significance of Indonesia-France cooperation when he received Parly at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta.
The procurement of Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft marks a new chapter in the strategic cooperation between Indonesia and France. The two countries share common views on stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
JAKARTA, KOMPAS — As a middle power in the Indo-Pacific region, Indonesia has taken the strategic step of strengthening its military cooperation with France, as manifested in the procurement of 42 Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft. Indonesia is also exploring plans to purchase two Scorpène-class submarines made by the French Naval Group.
Indonesia is the second Asian country to use Rafale aircraft after India. Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto revealed that the purchase deal had been approved following a meeting with French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly in Jakarta on Thursday (10/2/2022).
"We will acquire 42 Rafale [aircraft]. Starting today, the first contract is for six aircraft, followed by 36 aircraft in the near future, with support for weapons and simulation training," Prabowo said at a joint media conference with Parly.
The cooperation has strengthened the bilateral ties the two countries established in 1950. The Defense Ministry also welcomed a plan to establish a “2+2” cooperation mechanism, involving the foreign ministry and defense ministry of the two countries, to increase bilateral cooperation.
"The status of our bilateral relations in the defense sector is at their highest with the signing of the Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) on 28 June 2021. Of course, this needs ratification from the legislature [DPR] so it can be implemented properly," Prabowo told the the joint media conference.
Referring to the agreement as a significant stage in the development of Indonesia’s defense forces, she expressed her confidence about making partnership with the country’s companies.
Parly expressed appreciation for Indonesia's decision in choosing France as its partner in modernizing Indonesia’s weaponry. Referring to the agreement as a significant stage in the development of Indonesia’s defense forces, she expressed her confidence about making partnership with the country’s companies.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo also emphasized the significance of Indonesia-France cooperation when he received Parly at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta. While expressing his hope that the defense equipment procurement deal could be developed into joint production and technology exchange, the President also highlighted the importance of regional cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
Regional issues were among the topics President Jokowi discussed in a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, with both agreeing to ensure that the Indo-Pacific was a peaceful, stable and prosperous region.
"The 2+2 dialogue mechanism will be a strategic forum to realize the vision of a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific," Jokowi said.
The importance of the Indonesia-France strategic cooperation was also discussed at a meeting between Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi and French Armed Forces Minister Parly at the Foreign Ministry’s Pancasila Building in Jakarta. Parly emphasized the importance of Indonesia's role in the region.
An article on the official Foreign Ministry website states that Retno and Parly shared their views on cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. The two hold a common view on the importance of peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
Minister Retno reiterated the principles of the "ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific", which comprise inclusiveness, maritime cooperation, connectivity, achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs), trade and investment. She was looking to raise these principles at the Ministerial Meeting on the Indo-Pacific in Paris next week.
"It is important to continuously pursue this concrete cooperation," Retno said, adding that this was Indonesia’s initial capital for the next 2+2 meeting with France.
Since France currently holds the European Union (EU) presidency, Indonesia was hoping for significant developments in the Indonesia-EU Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (I-EU CEPA).
Retno again expressed her concern over the discriminatory policies imposed on Indonesian palm oil, according to Achmad Rizal Purnama, chief of staff to the Foreign Minister’s office.
"Indonesia hopes that, during the French presidency of the European Union in the first semester of 2022, there will be important progress in the Indonesia-EU CEPA negotiations," he said.
As a European country with territory in the Indo-Pacific, Rizal said that Indonesia viewed France as having an interest in the region’s geopolitics, while Indonesia was interested in building a closer partnership with the second richest country in the EU (RAZ/SYA/CAS/JOS)
(This article was translated by Musthofid)