Indonesia and Australia agree to restore full military ties


Indonesia and Australia have restored full military relations coinciding with the visit of President Joko Widodo to Canberra at the weekend. Video: Al Jazeera English

Indonesia and Australia have restored full military relations, weeks after  Jakarta suspended cooperation because of “insulting” teaching material found at an Australian army centre.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made the announcement on Sunday alongside Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who arrived in Australia on Saturday for his first visit as president.

“President Widodo and I have agreed to full restoration of defence cooperation, training exchanges and activities,” Turnbull told reporters in Sydney, reports Al Jazeera.

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Military cooperation between the two countries has ranged from joint training and counterterrorism cooperation to border protection.

It was suspended in January after an Indonesian officer saw references which he deemed derogatory to Indonesia’s state ideology Pancasila in training materials used at a special forces base in the west Australian city of Perth.

A minor diplomatic spat ensued, followed by an apology from Australia’s army chief in February.

Indonesia and Australia have a history of patchy ties, but both leaders were keen on Sunday to emphasise their commitment to a strong relationship.

“That robust relationship can be established when both countries have respect for each other’s territorial integrity, non-interference into the domestic affairs of each other and the ability to develop a mutually beneficial partnership,” Widodo said.

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