Indonesia Must Grapple With Challenges if It Is to Become Global Maritime...

Indonesia Must Grapple With Challenges if It Is to Become Global Maritime Fulcrum: Experts


Jakarta — Indonesia must enforce strong maritime diplomacy, invest more on ocean education and research and conclude ongoing negotiations on overlapping maritime claims to become a global maritime fulcrum as envisioned by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), experts said during a panel discussion on Saturday (21/10). According to Arief Havas Oegroseno, the maritime sovereignty deputy at the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs, Jokowi’s vision represents a comprehensive outline for economic prosperity. “More or less, it is a vision for Indonesia to become a developed nation that is also competitive, sovereign with a strong maritime culture that can contribute to the region,” Arief said during a panel discussion at the Conference on Indonesian Foreign Policy in Jakarta. The Indonesian Sea Policy released earlier this year seeks to facilitate and map Indonesia’s maritime goals. Arief said the country national maritime policy is the first of its kind in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and among only a handful of similar policies adopted by countries around the world. Hasjim Djalal, former ambassador to Canada and Germany and an expert of maritime law, said that despite Jokowi’s priority on maritime issues, several factors still require attention in order to achieve balance. This includes increasing investment in ocean education and research, strengthening maritime diplomacy and concluding ongoing negotiations on overlapping claims with neighboring countries. “We don’t want the seas to be a center of dispute, but rather a center of cooperation in the future,” Hasjim said. I Made Arsana, a lecturer at Gadjah Mada University’s department of geodectic and geomatic engineering, echoed Hasjim’s sentiments and said that the younger generation needs to learn more about the ocean. “Our understanding of the ocean is still limited, and it must be expanded,” Andi said, pointing to there is more scientific understanding of the surface of Mars and the moon than there is of the bottom of the world’s oceans. “This is one of the challenges. We need to continue discussions, especially with district governments because they don’t have the same understanding. We hope this will improve the transition process,” Arief said. According to Shafiah Fifi Muhibat, a senior fellow at the maritime security program at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore, the word “global” is a misrepresentation of the policy priorities contained in the Indonesian Sea Policy, which mostly concerns itself with domestic affairs.