Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie, Jakarta – Jakarta and Canberra reasserted their commitment to bolstering their bilateral partnership during the seventh Indonesia-Australia Ministerial Council Meeting on Law and Security on Tuesday.
Indonesian Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD and Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton met during the event, held virtually, and discussed the two countries' cooperation in maritime security and counterterrorism, as well as regional security issues and the repatriation of foreign terrorists.
Mahfud said Indonesia and Australia could address terrorism and other threats only through robust and sustainable cooperation covering, among other issues, law enforcement programs and preventive measures, such as counterterrorism efforts and deradicalization.
He went on to say that the two neighbors also had to maintain a partnership in mitigating the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has had a severe impact on the public health and economy of both countries.
"Bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation is a necessity. I believe that no country in the world can handle a situation like this on its own," Mahfud said in a statement published by his office on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Dutton asserted the significance of Australia and Indonesia's ties as equal partners in the security and maritime sectors.
"This collaboration is a big achievement for us. Indonesia is an important partner in the region and we have the same level of trust," he said.
Both Mahfud and Dutton lauded past cooperation between the two nations, with the coordinating minister insisting that the bilateral relationship would be stronger going forward.
Also attending the meeting were Indonesian Ambassador to Australia Kristiarto Legowo, Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK) chair Hasto Atmojo Suroyo and representatives from the Navy, the National Police's Densus 88 counterterrorism squad and other relevant agencies.
During the event, Hasto also signed a memorandum of understanding with Dutton on capacity building and the improvement of protection and assistance for witnesses and victims.
Since the 2002 Bali Bombing that killed dozens of Indonesian and Australian nationals, Jakarta and Canberra have been involved in bilateral security cooperation, including establishing the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC) in 2005 and cochairing the Bali process forum on people smuggling and other transnational crime.