(Photo: IIS)

General (Rtd) Prabowo Subianto, Minister of Defense of Indonesia delivers this defense message at the 19th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-La Dialogue

IN his presentation at last weekend’s Shangri-La Dialogue Indonesia’s Defense Minister Gen (Rtd) Prabowo Subianto shared several key messages about the country’s stance on defence at the Dialogue’s Second Pleanary Session titled ‘Managing Geopolitical Competition In A Multipolar Region’ on 11th June 2022

He said that Indonesia chose to be non-aligned and has also opted not to be engaged in any military alliance. He said: “This sounds sometimes like we are sitting on the fence, but no. This is a conscious decision because for us to respect the interests of all our neighbours and of all the big powers in this region is essential. And we have achieved that with our brothers in ASEAN and therefore we are trying to achieve that in this situation.”

Leaders of Great Powers
He said Indonesia was convinced that the leaders of the great powers realise the big responsibility they carry on their shoulders: “We are convinced that the leaders of China will stand up to their responsibility with wisdom and benevolence because it is their philosophical teaching. Confucius, all the great philosophers of China have always taught us that power and leadership must always come with benevolence.”

He aslo added: “We respect the United States. The United States actually has proven to be an anti-colonial power. They were one of the first colonies of the – of Britain that fought against colonialism. They supported our fight for independence. We never forget our friends who supported us. Australia also supported our independence. We have now – we are in the fortunate situation of being surrounded by friendly countries. And this is also I think part of our weakness. Because we are surrounded by friendly countries, sometimes our elite becomes complacent. And we think that when we are surrounded by nice people the situation will always be there in a friendly and conducive mood. What the situation in Ukraine taught us is we can never take our security and independence for granted. Therefore we are determined to strengthen our defence, and that is exactly the key word. Our outlook is a defensive outlook. We have stated that we will defend our territory with every means at our disposal. And we learnt from the examples of our neighbours and of the situation in the world. We see the heroism of the Vietnamese people in their 30-year struggle against colonialism. We also see how China fought against invasion, fought against foreign intervention for many years. And we respect all these countries.”

For the transcript of the whole speech by General Prabowo (as delivered) please visit here