Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | 14:12 WIB

Prabowo’s win heralds heightened optimism on Indonesia’s greater role in Asean, Singapore media writes

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Jakarta, IO – The Straits Times in an article titled ‘Optimism in Asean as Prabowo Presidency heralds a more active role for Indonesia’ described Prabowo Subianto as a figure who is able to take Indonesia to play a leading role in the regional bloc.

The article published on Saturday (17/2) also quoted a statement from Leigh Howard, executive director of Asialink Business in Melbourne, who observed Prabowo’s stance on foreign policy based on his remarks at many international forum during his tenure as defense minister.

“As defense minister, Prabowo was known for advocating a more balanced foreign policy and seeking partnerships with multiple nations, including Asian powers. As a presidential candidate, he cited the need for a strong maritime defense capacity to maintain Indonesia’s interests,” said Howard.

By looking at the track record of Prabowo as a former general who has good relations with a number of neighboring countries and superpowers, analysts also predict that he will take a more active role in diplomacy.

Moreover, Prabowo is also committed to prioritizing the national interests of the country with 280 million population and to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The article added: “South-east Asian policymakers may also be comforted with Mr Prabowo’s commitment to continuity – signified by having Mr Widodo’s son as his running mate in the election – with a stable and prosperous Indonesia being seen in diplomatic circles as a boon for all.”

Andreyka Natalegawa, associate fellow at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), expressed his optimism that Prabowo administration will restore Asean relevance and centrality amid great power rivalries in the highly strategic region.

However, all of this will depend on Prabowo’s ‘patience’ in facing Asean’s perceived slow and ineffective mechanism in achieving consensus among its members.

Read: The Indonesian People Have Spoken Prabowo-Gibran: The Chosen

“Prabowo may place a higher priority on maritime security and the assertion of Indonesia’s rights in the South China Sea, including by supporting some efforts at coordination among South-east Asian claimants,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Howard emphasized that Prabowo’s leadership role in Asean and globally will depend on his ability to build consensus in the region, his priorities on a number of international issues, as well as his foreign policy team.

“A key watch point will be the composition of the Prabowo Cabinet, and which of the existing foreign affairs officials will be retained,” noted Howard.

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