Indonesian Paper of Nuclear Naval Propulsion concerning equilibrium and human security threats in Southeast Asia

Royal Australian Navy submarine HMAS Rankin is seen during AUSINDEX 21, a biennial maritime exercise between the Royal Australian Navy and the Indian Navy in Darwin, Australia, September 5, 2021. (Source: China Daily)

Threat signals in the region 

Except for human security, Indonesia’s urgency to deliver this Indonesian Paper is a signal that the Southeast Asia region is threatened by the impact of nuclear development. Especially after the AUKUS pact did not respect the ASEAN declaration in the Zone of Peace, Freedom, and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) and the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) Treaty. 

Moreover, as mentioned earlier, geographically Indonesia is an important country that moves peace in Southeast Asia and Indo-Pacific region through ASEAN centrality. The Indo-Pacific region which is being pursued stability and peace by ASEAN will be vulnerable to increasing the risk of conflict among rivalries between the West and the East. Conflicts that occur in the Indo-Pacific will eventually have a direct impact on Southeast Asia and Indonesia itself. 

However, there is a unanimous disagreement on the response in ASEAN, causing ASEAN to be careful in taking action. Indonesia and Malaysia believe the agreement could spark an arms race in the Indo-Pacific and provoke other powers to act more aggressively. While the Philippines has openly endorsed the deal as a “necessary enhancement of the capabilities of close overseas allies to project power,” Singapore and Vietnam have quietly welcomed the agreement without issuing any official statement. 

Not only for humans and environment threats, in obviousness differences of opinion among ASEAN member countries regarding AUKUS alone can threaten the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) that they have built for a long time.