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Indonesia approves rise of 20 per cent in defence spending through 2024

Tan KW
Publish date: Thu, 30 Nov 2023, 04:26 PM
Tan KW
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JAKARTA: Indonesia's outgoing president has approved a 20 per cent increase in defence spending through the end of next year, to upgrade the country's military hardware in response to geopolitical developments, its finance minister said.

In a news conference on Wednesday, Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the approval came in a meeting she attended with President Joko Widodo and Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto.

Prabowo is the leading candidate in the upcoming presidential election in February, and is running with Widodo's son.

The defence budget will be increased from US$20.75 billion to US$25 billion, Sri Mulyani said.

"The needs were put forward by the Defence Ministry. They considered them as a necessity given the condition of our military hardware as well as rising threats amid increasing geopolitical and geo-security dynamics," she said.

Despite the "significant" increase, the defence budget for the three five-year periods from 2020 to 2034 will remain at US$55 billion, she said, saying that means it is aligned with her medium- to long-term fiscal plans.

The source of the funds will be foreign loans, she said.

The Southeast Asian country has sought to modernise its ageing fleet in recent years, spearheaded by Prabowo.

For the past decade, Indonesia's defence spending per capita and as a percentage of gross domestic product has been the lowest among six of the region's emerging-market economies, according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) think tank.

Deals Prabowo has signed in recent years included the purchase of 42 Dassault Rafale fighter jets for US$8.1 billion, 12 new drones from Turkish Aerospace worth US$300 million, and 12 Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets valued at US$800 million.

He also signed agreements to buy fighter jets and transport helicopters from United States companies Boeing and Lockheed Martin in August.

Indonesia signed a deal to buy a US$100 million submarine rescue vessel from Britain in September, after one of the country's submarines sank in 2021 during a drill.

Indonesia and South Korea have also been locked in a dispute over funding for a joint KFX fighter jet project.

 -Reuters

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