Sixty years ago, five nations (Burma, Ceylon, India, Indonesia and Pakistan) initiated an international conference held in Bandung Indonesia known as the Bandung Asian African Conference. Amidst the Cold War situation, the Conference initiated the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement, which challenged the constellation of international security and strategy at that time. This has significantly shaped Indonesian diplomacy and is the foundation of the Indonesian “Bebas Aktif” foreign policy.
The seminar titled “Indonesia Beyond 60 Years from Bandung Asia Africa Conference: A Maritime Perspective” will discuss the relevance of the Bandung Asian African Conference 60 years later and how Indonesia with its Bebas Aktif foreign policy can maintain a balance between securing its national interests and its regional and global responsibilities.
In today’s world, where geographical borders between countries are becoming more indefinite and human movement has grown exponentially, governments from all over the world face the challenges of maintaining a balance between their own national interests (economy, politics and security) and their standing in the international landscape.
“With the emergence of Indonesia’s position as one of the world's leading countries, it is important for Australia and other regional powers to deepen relations with Indonesia. This needs to happen across a range of activities, such as economics and trade, politics and security, culture and the arts.” Professor Tim Dunne of the University of Queensland is quoted as saying.
Indonesian president Ir. Joko Widodo has on a number of occasions expressed his aspiration to revive Indonesia’s position as the World’s Maritime Axis. This has consequences for Indonesia’s position in international society. It is worth noting that Indonesia has ratified the United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982 and has, therefore, to abide provisions in the Convention in dealing with maritime issues.
I Made Andi Arsana, PhD states “UNCLOS 1982 is the latest and most comprehensive convention on the law of the sea. Indonesia, as an archipelagic state, has some benefits and entitlements, nonetheless it also presents some challenges in determining or claiming a full suit of maritime zones pursuant to UNCLOS. Eventually, it is impossible for Indonesia to claim maritime areas based on UNCLOS without having overlapping claims with its neighbours.”
According to Professor Hasjim Djalal “A maritime country is a nation that knows how to use, protect and defend its maritime space as well as maritime resources. As such the Indonesian Government has a big role and responsibility not only to its own society but also within the region. ”
In addition to what Professor Tim Dunne and Professor Hasjim Djalal said, Nugroho Wienarto, Executive Director of Transformasi has stated that Indonesia has two primary vision in achieving its goals as the world’s maritime axis, which are bringing prosperity to the people of Indonesia with all of its abundant sea riches, and making Indonesia a sovereign maritime country. Indonesia must execute “defense for security and prosperity”, thus enabling the Government of Indonesia to have a more important role in the world maritime sector, particularly within the region of ASEAN and Asia Pacific. Several policies that have been done by the Government of Indonesia through relevant ministries include licensing moratorium for foreign ships, and increasing the strength of Indonesian sea fleet.