Australia-Indonesia military co-operation suspended: Offensive material cited as the reason

By @ZeNovice on
Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne
Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne speaks during a news conference with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London, Britain September 9, 2016. Reuters/Nick Ansell/Pool

Australia-Indonesia military co-operation has come to a stand-still after the former allegedly presented “offensive” training materials at a Perth defence force base.

“All forms of cooperation have been suspended,” said Major General Wuryanto, an Indonesian military spokesperson, on Wednesday.

It comes after a military instructor with the Indonesian Special Forces group Kopassus felt insulted by the training materials on display, meant to be used by the group, The ABC reported.

Wuryanto said the suspension will affect a broad range of activities.

“There are technical matters that need to be discussed,” he added.  

Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne said they have been informed about the suspension. "Some interaction" had been postponed until matters resolve with the Indonesia forces, Payne further added.

As reported by The Australian, Indonesian newspaper Kompas said the Indonesian instructor observed materials that were "demeaning" to Indonesia’s founding Principles, Pancasila.

The discovery was made during a joint-training session with Australia’s Special Air Service at a base in Perth. That being said, the suspension of Australia-Indonesia military co-operation doesn’t solely rest with the offensive training material.

According to Maj-Gen. Wuryanto, the training material was only a part of the issues that need to be resolved, The West Australian reported.

"Indonesia and Australia will resolve this technical matter and then the cooperation will continue,” Wuryanto said.

Meanwhile, ADF chief Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin has written to General Gatot Nurnantyo of the Indonesian military about the offensive material. The letter said that the offensive material displayed in Perth did not reflect the view of the ADF, and was an isolated incident.

According to Senator Payne, the Army had "looked into the serious concerns that were raised and the investigation into the incident is being finalised."

"Australia is committed to building a strong Defence relationship with Indonesia, including through cooperation in training," Payne added.

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