The Challenges Ahead and Future Trajectories of Indonesia’s Defence and Security

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Abstract

Indonesia’s strategic environment, both domestically and externally, have changed significantly over the past decade and is likely to evolve in the future. Cognisant of the archipelago’s dynamic security environment, President Widodo’s administration espoused the Global Maritime Axis/Fulcrum doctrine that aims to propel Indonesia as a formidable regional maritime power. The doctrine is not unwarranted. In its immediate regional neighbourhood, Indonesia faces the prospect of a more assertive China that lay claim to the South China Sea, which gave rise to tension between several Southeast Asian countries with the regional hegemon. While not a direct party to the dispute, China's claims over the South China Sea is a great concern to Indonesia given that its EEZ and China's so-called Nine Dash Line overlap, not to mention the frequent skirmishes between the Indonesian Navy and Chinese Coast Guard.

Domestically, terrorism continues to be Indonesia’s preoccupation. While the Islamic State is now a shell of what it used to be, its sympathisers in Indonesia – those who have went and returned or deported after attempting to cross into the Syrian border with the intention to further the caliphate’s cause – is of a significant concern to Indonesia as security apparatuses feared that they intend to establish a caliphate in Indonesia and thus cause a spike in homegrown-terrorism and fuel radicalism. Counter-radicalisation effort, not only driven by government but also related stakeholders, therefore, would be an essential element in Indonesia's security sector. This panel aims to discuss and elaborate the security challenges that Indonesia is facing in the near future. More importantly, this panel seeks to discuss policies that Indonesia has adopted in tackling challenges and some aspects of the policy-making process.