It must be mentioned that Indonesia, the biggest archipelagic nation in the world, has weaker naval capabilities than its neighboring countries such as Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Naval modernization has encountered some challenges: limited resources, ill-equipped infrastructure, and outdated defense research facility.
And to spread awareness to Indonesian people that they have a big potential for their maritime. In Indonesia we celebrate our National Maritime Day every 23 September.
There has been a misconception about the National Maritime Day celebration date, some people think that there are 2 versions of celebrating National Maritime Day: 21 August and 23 September. Talking about the history of National Maritime Day, the commemoration began with the inauguration of the Indonesian Navy by President Soekarno, then continued with the determination of the Djuanda Declaration.
With Indonesian territory being 75% sea, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan emphasized that the Indonesian people must again see the sea as a great potential to bring prosperity.
According to him, this potential is wanted to be developed more broadly by the current government. “We have made a lot of changes, made policies to make this sea productive, to become land for the wealth of Indonesian people’s lives,” he explained seriously. Among these policies, the Coordinating Minister Luhut continued, there is a policy regarding the sea toll road. Namely a barrier-free shipping lane that connects ports throughout Indonesia.
Furthermore, the former Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs also mentioned the government’s achievements in other maritime sectors. “We are solving the problem of illegal fishing, of course there is still a continuation of how we can catch more fish and can be processed more,” he explained. He admitted that the government still has a lot of work to do to be able to make policies and implement work programs that can make tens of millions of Indonesians who depend on the marine sector for their lives more prosperous.
Then, in the energy sector, according to him, development is now better. “Freeport has been able to return to Indonesia’s hands,” said the Coordinating Minister proudly. Then regarding the procurement of 35 thousand MW of electricity, according to him, it is on the right track. “I see it can go well. Yes, of course, it will only be finished later in 2019, only about 23-25 thousand MW, later the rest is already in the development process,” he explained.
For the first time now, maritime security found wide coverage in Indonesia’s electoral debates. Since the debates, there has been a surge in popular discourse related to Indonesia’s vision. Experts and practitioners have offered various interpretations of Jokowi’s newly-floated maritime doctrine, such as “the revival of Indonesia’s archipelagic identity,” “a new hope for national maritime awakening,” and “a call for united Indonesia.”
Current President Jokowi’s ambitious maritime vision faces equally powerful challenges, which are structural and deep-rooted. Modernizing an under-fed, under-equipped and under-resourced navy will require considerable political will and support, a huge amount of financial resources, technical know-how, dedicated modern research facilities, and a robust national debate to support such a mammoth task.
Written by: Nevy Pangestika
Source: Kominfo, Brookings.edu