Nina Loasana, Jakarta – Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto and his French counterpart Florence Parly are aiming to sign a defense cooperation agreement (DCA) before the end of this year to celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Prabowo went to Paris as part of his working visits to several countries in the past few weeks. The retired Army general traveled to the United States between Oct. 15 and 19. He flew to Austria on Tuesday before arriving in France on Wednesday.
During a meeting at the office of the France Defense Ministry on Wednesday, Prabowo and Parly urged "the negotiation team to finish the talks soon so the ministers could sign the agreement before the end of the year", according to a statement from the Indonesian Embassy in Paris.
"I saw good progress in the strategic defense partnership in the past few years," Prabowo said in the statement.
"Indonesia wishes to increase cooperation with France in various defense sectors, including in strengthening the Indonesian Military's [TNI] primary weapons system [Alutsista] and increasing the capacity of Indonesia's defense industry as part of the Alutsista global production chain."
In January, the two ministers agreed to strengthen their defense cooperation into a DCA, which would 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 such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both ministers also emphasized the importance of both countries' contribution to maintaining stability and security in the Indo-Pacific region.
Indonesian Ambassador to France Arrmanatha Nasir said Prabowo's second meeting with Parly this year had shown the closeness between the two countries in defense ties.
"This was reflected not only in the increased communication between both ministers but also in their participation in the second meeting of the Strategic Defense Equipment cooperation's working group," the ambassador said.
Indonesia and France have since 2013 hosted an annual Indonesia-France Defense Dialogue (IFDD) in which the two countries discuss training and education, as well as counterterrorism cooperation. In 2017, the two countries signed a letter of intent to increase defense cooperation, including in maritime security.