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Jakarta Post

The ‘strategic trinity’ of national defense

  • Evan A. Laksmana

Syracuse, New York   /   Thu, February 2 2012   /  11:36 am

There has been intense debate on the planned purchase of 100 used Leopard 2A6 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) from the Netherlands for the Indonesian Army.

Critics, mainly politicians and civil society groups, argue that the tanks — which will cost a total of US$280 million— are unsuitable for the country’s geography, and especially for Java. They also suspect that the tanks are incongruent with the development of the Indonesian Military’s (TNI) strategic posture.

Meanwhile, supporters say the purchase is a necessary as part of developing a Minimum Essential Force and that Indonesia should also maintain strategic parity with Malaysia and Singapore, both of whom have recently procured MBTs. After all, they say, most of Indonesia’s light tanks were purchased in the 1980s.

Army chief Gen. Pramono Edhie Wibowo added that the planned purchase made economic sense, as...