Russia-Indonesian ties

Written by The Frontier Post

An Indonesian delegation led by the Deputy Chairman of the Upper House of Parliament of Indonesia, Nono Sampono, has visited the Russian Federation during recent days. The Indonesian delegation met with Konstantin Kosachev, Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council and held talks with the officials of Russian state-run Nuclear firm “Rosatom” regarding construction of a nuclear power plant on the island of Kalimantan. The issue of construction of a nuclear power plant was under discussion between the two countries over the last several years. The Indonesian authorities were considering several sites for construction of nuclear power plant including Bangka Belitung, island of Kalimantan, Batam city and West Papua. According to reports, the Indonesian government, and Russian state-run nuclear corporation Rosatom had signed an agreement for construction of a nuclear power plant worth US $ 9 billion at Batam city in 2014. According to the agreement, Rosatom would have to construct a 2×1200 Megawatt’s nuclear power plant and transfer technology to the National Nuclear Energy Agency of Indonesia (BATAN). However, during a recent visit Nono Sampono told the Russian leadership that the country has finally decided to construct a nuclear power plant on the island of Kalimantan in the province of West Kalimantan. Indonesia also expressed interest in the construction of floating nuclear power plants of about 100 Megawatt in the country due to threats of natural calamities such as earthquakes and tsunamis.

The bilateral relations between Indonesia and the former Soviet Union were established during 1950. The two nations enjoyed strong bilateral relations during the Sukarno regime in Indonesia. Indonesia had been the biggest importer of Soviet’s military hardware during the 1960s. Later, the pace of their bilateral relations got mild during Suharto tenure in Indonesia. However, after the dissolution of the former Soviet Union, the bilateral ties between the Russian Federation and Indonesia entered a new era. Currently, Indonesia has close cooperation with Russia in multiple domains including trade and investment, defense, and security, economic and industries, transportation including Railways, fisheries, agriculture, aviation, and infrastructure etc. The two countries have strong cooperation in defense and Security. Presently, Russia was a major arms supplier to Indonesia during recent years. Indonesia has purchased Russian fighter jets and armed helicopters for its Air Force, latest Amphibious battle tanks, armored vehicles, and other military hardware for the Indonesian Army. The Indonesian Navy has also used Russia’s made submarines, speed boats and warships over the years.

Indonesia is a developing country with a population of more than 270 million people. Currently, it faces scarcity of energy resources due to growing industrialization in the country. Previously, the Indonesian energy sector was dependent on Hydel, oil, gas, and thermal energy power plants. The Indonesian government wants to induct several nuclear energy plants in its inventory during the coming years. The bilateral forum, Indonesian-Russian Working Group on Trade, Investment, and Industry (WGTII) is actively working for promotion of bilateral cooperation, creation of opportunities, elimination of barriers on bilateral imports and exports, and exploration of opportunities to enhance strategic relations between the two countries. Both countries have set an ambitious target of $ 5 billion for bilateral trade during the current year. Currently, Russia is working to speed up the process of conclusion of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Indonesia and Eurasian Economic Union in the coming years. The current upward trajectory of bilateral relations is indicative of great prospects for the two nations in the days to come.

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The Frontier Post

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