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RI-Singapore DCA: Only talks, not renegotiation are needed

Updated On: Jun 22, 2007

Some political observers notably in Indonesiaare still debating over the Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) between Singaporeand Indonesia.

Noted politician Amien Rais said to Jakarta Post that the defence treaty would not be beneficial for and bring losses to Indonesia.

According to Amien, under the treaty, Indonesia would be divided into four regions -- Alpha, Bravo 1, Bravo 2 and Baturaja -- in which Singaporean soldiers could conduct military exercises. Singaporean soldiers would be able to easily enter the country's territory, which is a violation of Indonesia’s sovereignty.

Former defence minister in Abdurrahman Wahid’s cabinet, Machfuld MD said to Antara that there would be no consequences if Indonesia cancels the DCA with Singapore. He said the DCA was unilaterally invalidated because its IAs had not been agreed on by the two governments.  He also thinks that the DCA is very disadvantageous to Indonesia. He said invalidation of the accord would even show Indonesia`s capability to let its people`s sovereignty prevail, adding that only people with a negative mind-set would consider it an unjustifiable act.

Meanwhile, driven by intense domestic pressure, Indonesiais urging Singaporeto discuss in detail the implementing arrangement (IA).

"We have urged Singapore to get ready to sit to discuss with us in greater detail the IA, administrative, technical and operational matters relating to the training ground in Bravo Area," Indonesian foreign affairs minister Hassan Wirajuda said to Antara. Hassan said that the problem, however, is that Singapore did not see it as a necessity. He said it was true that Singaporehad considered that the issue had already been settled, but Article 6 of the DCA clearly reflects the importance of the implementing arrangement. The issues concerning the training area and arrangement are yet to be settled. The minister said that only talks, not re-negotiations, were needed because the issue had never been discussed before.

Lieutenant General Sjafrie Sjamsuddin, Secretary General of the Indonesian Ministry of Defence was quoted by Detiknews.com as saying that Indonesia would ask for a renegotiation of the Implementing Agreements (IA) of the DCA, which from Indonesia’s side would be led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry will also be responsible to “synchronize” the understanding of the DCA, IA, and Military Training Area (MTA) among the Indonesia’s Armed Forces (TNI), Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He emphasized the issue of the use of “Bravo” area for military training bySingapore, as the most crucial issue to be discussed.  (21 June 2007)

Sources:

Amien rebuffs RI-S'pore DCA (Jakarta Post, 19 June 2007)

DCA`s cancelation not have any consequences for RI : ex defence minister (Antara, 20 June 2007)

RI urges S`pore to discuss DCA implementing arrangement (Antara, 18 June 2007)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs to renegotiate the DCA (Detiknews, 18 June 2007)