Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto held a bilateral meeting with his French counterpart Florence Parly on Monday, as the two countries aim to strike a defense cooperation deal this year.
Prabowo visited Parly at the French Ministry of Defense in Paris on Monday during which the two ministers discussed steps to strengthen bilateral defense ties and efforts to help advance the Indonesia's defense industry.
"As two strategic partners, Indonesia and France have good defense cooperation. Indonesia wants to continue to enhance defense cooperation, especially in areas that can improve the TNI's [the Indonesian Military] equipment and advance the Indonesian defense industry," Prabowo said at the meeting, as quoted from a press statement shared by Indonesian embassy in Paris.
Indonesia's Ambassador to France Arrmanatha Nasir said there were plenty of opportunities to increase defense cooperation because the two nations enjoyed good bilateral relations and each had an independent foreign policy.
During Monday's meeting, according to Arrmanatha, the two ministers agreed to strengthen their defense cooperation into a Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA), which is expected to be reached this year and serve as a framework for future defense cooperation.
The DCA will cover cooperation in training and education, defense industry development, science and defense technology, intelligence cooperation and counterterrorism, as well as collaborations in peacekeeping operations and humanitarian missions during disasters, he said.
In 2017, the two countries signed a letter of intent to increase defense cooperation including maritime security and maritime cooperation.
Since 2013, Indonesia and France have hosted an annual Indonesia-France Defense Dialogue (IFDD), where the two countries discuss training and education, as well as counterterrorism cooperation.
"As a country with an advanced defense industry, France can be a strategic partner in Indonesia's efforts to modernize its weaponry defense system and accelerate the development of our national defense industry. This will support efforts to make the national defense industry a part of the 'global production chain',” Arrmanatha said. “In this context, our defense minister placed special attention on the development of the defense industry when discussing defense cooperation.”
In Paris, Prabowo also held meetings with defense companies that produce ammunition, fighter jets, vessels, radars and avionics systems, with Prabowo expressing hope the French defense industry could help Indonesia to improve its defense capacity through technology transfers.
Prabowo's visit to France was the first high-level meeting this year, with the two countries celebrating 70 years of diplomatic relations. (dis)