Singapore – As defence chiefs from across the Asia-Pacific collect in Singapore for the Shangri-La Dialogue, a lot of the main focus has been on rising tensions between america and China.
The three-day safety summit organised by the London-based Worldwide Institute for Strategic Research is taken into account a very powerful defence-related convention within the area. This 12 months, greater than a dozen defence chiefs from all over the world, together with the US, China, and extra, are attending.
After a two-year hiatus, the occasion has returned and attracted high-profile friends, together with the Indonesian defence chief and former presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.
The previous lieutenant common met with Al Jazeera’s Jessica Washington through the Shangri-La Dialogue, sharing his ideas on the conflict in Ukraine, and modernising Indonesia’s navy arsenal.
Al Jazeera: In your speech on the Shangri-La Dialogue, you spoke in regards to the “Asian approach”. The place does Indonesia match into that concept?
Subianto: That’s our tradition that we at all times attempt to resolve issues with negotiations, with interactions, with engagement, and we carry on partaking, we carry on discussing till we come to an amicable, mutually helpful resolution. That’s the Asian approach.
And it’s the Indonesian approach. We name it musyawarah mufakat (dialogue to succeed in an answer) and we name it gotong royong (working collectively). We search for frequent pursuits; if we at all times discuss in regards to the variations, we would not even meet.
Al Jazeera: A giant focus throughout this summit has been on US-China tensions. What do you see as Indonesia’s position in coping with these tensions?
Subianto: We’re in the actual and precise place that we respect and we’re pleasant, and we’re good buddies. We’ve good cooperation with each powers — I’ve mentioned that many occasions. The US has helped us many occasions, in our crucial moments. However China has additionally helped us. China has additionally defended us and China is now a really shut accomplice with Indonesia. And truly, China has at all times been the main civilization in Asia. Lots of our sultans, kings, our princes in these days, they’d marry princesses from China. We’ve tons of of years of relationship.
So it’s pure. So, you requested me, what’s our place, nearly as good buddies we attempt to be, possibly a superb frequent bridge. If not, then we preserve the nice relationships.
And we’re satisfied that each powers may have smart management. I’m optimistic on that entrance, many individuals, after all, understandably are involved, and sure there are risks. However I consider the chief of China will probably be smart, and the chief of the US additionally. They’re nice powers. The world will count on them to present us good management.
Al Jazeera: What about a few of the elements of Indonesia-China relationships, the place there are variations of opinions… for instance the South China Sea. How do you navigate these challenges?
Subianto: As I mentioned with good relations, good communication with direct contacts, we will come to an amicable understanding that’s mutually helpful.
Al Jazeera: The US Secretary of Protection, earlier within the speech talked about Indonesia, particularly the naval train known as Garuda Protect…
Subianto: Garuda Protect has been happening for 14-15 years, however we have now additionally workouts with different international locations. We additionally plan to have workouts with China.
Al Jazeera: The US Secretary talked in regards to the scenario in Ukraine, and also you talked about in your speech, you mentioned it’s a very unhappy scenario. Do you’ve got anything to say on that?
Subianto: Traditionally, geopolitically, there are at all times two variations to a narrative. Indonesia, as you understand we voted with the various western international locations in opposing the invasion of Ukraine — that’s our place on the invasion.
However as soon as once more, I wish to say that Russia has been an excellent good friend to Indonesia all these years. We’ve good relations with Russia, they helped us additionally after we had been having difficulties and as I discussed, a good friend in want is a good friend certainly. Always remember buddies who helped you. That’s our place.
We are saying all the nice powers have to be revered, and their considerations have to be revered.
Al Jazeera: You have got made it your precedence to modernise Indonesia’s defence capabilities, how is that going?
Subianto: It’s going effectively, after all, every part wants what I name an incubation interval, we will’t go to the grocery store and purchase defence gear. I’d say it’s going effectively, after all, I’m fairly impatient, I want it may go quicker, possibly if I’ve a magic wand.
Al Jazeera: Following your speech, you had been requested in regards to the area and also you mentioned every nation could make their very own choices. Something additional to say on that?
Subianto: Mainly that’s the correct of each nation to evaluate their very own safety wants. So I can not inform the Australians or the British what they need to do. I additionally don’t need them to inform us what to do. We respect one another.
Al Jazeera: Can I ask in your views on the scenario in Myanmar?
Subianto: I feel Indonesia’s place may be very clearly don’t acknowledge the regime in Myanmar
Al Jazeera: Let’s have a look at a home difficulty in Indonesia. There may be dialogue in regards to the plan to create new provinces in Papua and a few worldwide human rights teams have raised considerations about safety implications and the impression on human rights.
Subianto: There’s at all times this, I’d say double requirements or triple customary, something international locations like Indonesia do. They at all times attempt to emphasise the potential of human rights abuses. I feel our wants, we have now huge areas and that has been in dialogue and planning for a few years.
Al Jazeera: Indonesia’s international coverage has lengthy been guided by the phrase ‘free and energetic’. Do you see Indonesia as having a management position amongst international locations that take a impartial stance?
Subianto: Management shouldn’t be one thing that we will award to ourselves. I feel the very best type of statecraft in my view is to get your personal home so as. If we care for our personal home in good order, individuals will look to us.
Al Jazeera: Talking of management, your plans for 2024 — Are you planning to run for the presidency?
If I’m wanted, if there’s sturdy assist for me, then I’ve to place myself on the service of my individuals and my nation.