Spain, RI strengthen defense, relief ties
Novan Iman Santosa
The Jakarta Post
Spain and Indonesia have agreed to improve existing defense cooperation between both countries by signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) covering a wide range of activities.
The fields covered by the MOU, signed by Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morenes Eulate and his Indonesian counterpart Purnomo Yusgiantoro, include education, planning, innovation, logistical support and acquisition of defense products, the Indonesian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Purnomo said there were three major issues discussed during Eulate’s visit.
“First, we want to establish closer people-to-people contact and communication between officials and ministries to increase defense relations,” he told a press conference.
“Second, we are cooperating in military operation other than war, especially in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.”
In a disaster, Purnomo said, the military was the first to respond before civilians continued the effort. “It is part of the civil-military cooperation or CIMIC. We can learn from each other,” he said.
Purnomo pointed out that despite the distance, the Spanish military was involved in disaster relief in the aftermath of the 2004 Aceh tsunami.
“I would like to convey our appreciation for the assistance given to our people in Aceh in 2004,” he said.
Purnomo continued by saying that the MOU would serve as an umbrella of existing cooperation, especially in the aircraft industry.
Spain and Indonesia co-designed and co-produced the CN-235 medium transport aircraft, which the Spanish side further developed into the C-295.
Indonesia has ordered nine C-295s, the production of which will be shared by Spain and Indonesia.
Spain has also provided Indonesia with a production license for newer C-212-400 light transport aircraft. State aircraft maker PT Dirgantara Indonesia previously built the older C-212-200.
In addition to the aerospace sector, Purnomo added that both countries were looking into cooperation possibilities in maritime industries. He said that an Indonesian team had visited a number of Spanish shipyards for possible cooperation in the future.
Meanwhile, Eulate said that Spain offered other forms cooperation that it could give to Indonesia.
“We should enhance and promote cooperation between Spain and Indonesia,” he said, adding that his side was expecting long-lasting cooperation in the military industry.
Indonesia is currently in the selection process of appointing a supplier for a tall ship to replace the venerable KRI Dewa Ruci training vessel.
Defense Facilities Agency chief Maj. Gen. Ediwan Prabowo said that the process was in a final stage, between short-listed candidates from Spain and Poland.
“Both companies have the credibility and we will perform a final assessment to appoint the shipbuilder,” he told reporters.
Hinting at possible closer cooperation, Purnomo said that he just found out that Spain also used and license-built the Leopard 2 main battle tank, similar to the ones Indonesia was ordering from Germany.
“We will see what kind of cooperation we can have in regard to the Leopard,” he said.
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