$ 125 billion plan aims to modernize defense arsenal – benarnews
Indonesia unveiled a plan to spend US $ 125 billion over the next three years to modernize and modernize its military arsenal, the same week the Southeast Asian nation halted efforts to recover a sub -44-year-old navy who sank at the end of April with 53 sailors. a board.
As part of this plan, outlined in a draft presidential decree that circulated recently, the government proposes to spend $ 79.1 billion on military equipment, $ 13.4 billion in interest on 25-year loans from sources. and $ 32.5 billion in contingencies and maintenance. The spending plan covers a period ending in 2024, the year that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is due to step down at the end of his second constitutional term.
The document, obtained by BenarNews, says the funding will come from foreign loans, but it does not say what types of weapons the government is seeking to acquire.
Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, spokesperson for Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, confirmed the authenticity of the document.
“The investments made during the period 2021-2024 will increase Indonesia’s negotiating position to obtain defense equipment at more affordable prices,” Dahnil said in a series of tweets on Wednesday evening. “In addition, since the investment is made in a relatively short timeframe, we can ensure that all the equipment purchased will be interoperable.
Spending priorities include strengthening the national defense industry, communications system, intelligence, border security, as well as guided munitions and air defense systems, he said without citing. specific purchases offered.
Threats facing Indonesia include violations of border areas, foreign intervention, separatism and terrorism, the ministry said. Non-military threats include hacking and cyber espionage.
Dahnil said the purchases were to be made during the last years of Jokowi’s presidency “to dramatically improve the readiness of defense equipment as soon as possible.”
The Department of Defense budget for this year is $ 9.6 billion.
“Defense systems are aging”
Prabowo responded to journalists’ questions about the draft decree by asking a question.
” How did you know ? he asked ahead of a meeting with the House of Representatives defense committee on Wednesday.
Prabowo said the plans were being discussed with the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), the finance ministry and other stakeholders.
“Many of our defense systems are aging, so there is an urgent need to replace them,” said Prabowo, a former general who commanded the Indonesian army‘s special forces (Kopassus). “This is very important to respond to the constantly changing strategic environment. “
In late April, the defense chief issued a similar message when Indonesia frantically searched for the KRI Nanngala-402, a submarine that sank near Bali after diving during a torpedo firing exercise.
Dahnil said the government hopes the country will reach an ideal defense position by 2025 or 2026 and that after that it will not need to purchase military equipment until at least 2044.
The loans were to come from countries such as the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain, Major General Rodon Pedrason, director general of defense strategy at the Department of Defense, told the local media. Foreign powers, he said, “will not leave Indonesia in the cold.”
“The government plans to obtain foreign loans for the modernization of expensive and high-tech defense equipment, but which takes a long time to maintain sovereignty, territorial integrity and national security,” he told CNN Indonesia.
Since taking office in 2019, Prabowo has traveled to arms-producing countries, including the United States, Russia, China and France, to strike defense deals.
In April, he traveled to South Korea to witness the launch of the first prototype of the KF-X fighter jet, which is being jointly developed by the two nations.
In February, the Defense Ministry reported that it was looking to purchase 36 Dassault Rafale fighter jets from France and that it was preparing to acquire four Boeing F-15EXs from the United States by 2022.
Connie Rahakundini Bakrie, a military analyst at the University of Indonesia, criticized what she called the ministry’s lack of transparency in its plans.
“A defense budget of this size, in three years, what are we going to buy? Who are we fighting? she told BenarNews.
Indonesia’s plan to modernize its military equipment became urgent after the sinking on April 21 of the KRI Nanggala-402.
Navy spokesman First Admiral Julius Widjojono on Wednesday announced the end of efforts to recover the wreckage of the submarine, which was found shattered into three pieces half a mile below the level of the sea, claiming that the risks were too great.
He also said the military was looking to acquire up to eight submarines to add to its fleet of four after the sinking.
“We have submitted the requirement, at least 12 submarines. But the decision is up to the people at the top, ”Julius told BenarNews.
“How many submarines does Singapore, a small country, have? We, as the largest archipelagic nation, only had two at one time, ”Julius said, referring to a time when three of the military submarines were out of service.
Indonesia has cooperated with Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, a South Korean company, to build submarines.
Launched in 2019, the KRI Alugoro-405, one of three Indonesian submarines ordered from Daewoo, is the first to be partially assembled locally.
Meanwhile, Beni Sukadis, a military researcher at Marapi Consulting and Advisory, questioned the government’s ability to acquire many weapons over the next three years.
“From contract preparation to delivery, it can take three to five years, or even 10 years, depending on the weapon system purchased,” he told BenarNews.
Indonesia needs corvettes, maritime patrol boats, submarines, radar units, maritime patrol planes and drones, in line with geopolitical concerns in the South China Sea and threats of kidnappings by groups Ransom activists in waters near the southern Philippines, he said. .