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Indonesian military to train more officers abroad

Agence France Presse - November 4, 1997

Jakarta – The Indonesian armed forces are to send more officers abroad for training, especially to Britain and the United States, a report said here Tuesday.

"The plan is in line with the program to form a professional, effective, efficient and modern Indonesian armed forces and (because) the growing problems faced by this nation are increasingly linked to foreign affairs," Army Chief General Wiranto was quoted as saying by the Antara news agency.

He said that bilateral and multilateral exercises involving the Indonesian armed forces were also on the rise and there was "a need to have officers with foreign affairs comprehension."

"I have decided to immediately provide the widest possible opportunities for relatively young military officers to undergo training overseas so that they become used to problems of a bilateral or multilateral nature," Wiranto said.

He also said that the program to train Indonesian officiers abroad would be fully funded by the armed forces and not be dependent on foreign aid.

Indonesia in June cancelled its planned purchase of nine US F-16 fighter planes from the United States citing "wholly unjustified criticisms" in the United States Congress against Indonesia.

Jakarta also withdrew from the US Expanded International Military Education and Training (IMET) program.

The US military program, worth an annual 600,000 dollars, was only restored in March 1996 after the US Congress cut off the funding in 1992 in reaction to Indonesia's human rights record in the former Portuguese colony of East Timor.