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Jakarta Post

Indonesia needs science diplomacy, now more than ever

  • Bagus Muljadi

    Nottingham, UK

Nottingham, UK   /   Sat, November 28 2020   /  01:00 am
Vaccine talks: British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (left) greets Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi at Lancaster House, London on Oct. 14. Retno visited London for talks on international cooperation to find a vaccine for COVID-19. (Courtesy of/British Embassy, Jakarta)

When Foreign Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi recently led a government delegation to London as part of Indonesia’s efforts to procure COVID-19 vaccines, she warned about the prospect of wealthy nations scooping up billions of doses at the expense of developing countries like Indonesia. Her statement indicates the scientific and diplomatic challenges that the pandemic presents. Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated profound geopolitical shifts, created new tensions and allowed countries that excel in vaccine research and development to wield it as a geopolitical weapon or a diplomatic tool. In actual fact, however, science has been an integral part of the diplomatic strategy of many developed countries like the United States, the United Kingdom and China, but it is rarely discussed in the context of Indonesian diplomacy. In addition to the pandemic, climate change and ener...