Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – Admiral Yudo Margono has officially become the new commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces, or TNI, replacing the retiring General Andika Perkasa.
The 57-year-old Yudo on Monday took his oath of office before President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo at the State Palace in Jakarta.
"I swear by Almighty God to be loyal to the country according to the [state ideology] Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution. I will carry out all regulations as strictly as possible, as I bear true allegiance to this nation,"Yudo said, repeating after Jokowi.
"I will uphold work ethics, do my utmost best and embrace the greatest sense of responsibility when carrying out my duties," he said.
Yudo had a slip of the tongue when taking his oath. Instead of 'the soldier's oath', Yudo read "I will uphold the soldier's attitude.", causing him to have to repeat the part.
Shortly after the ceremony, Jokowi told the press that he had instructed the new TNI commander, among others, to safeguard Indonesia's sovereignty and boost the public trust in TNI. The president also instructed Yudo to maintain the military's neutrality as the country inches closer to the 2024 election.
"Most importantly, maintaining TNI's neutrality so they do not get pulled into practical politics. TNI and the National Police [Polri] also have to team up to keep our country conducive. Political stability and security are pivotal to a country's economic growth in today's uncertain times," Jokowi said.
The president commented on Yudo's plans for a humanistic approach in dealing with the Papua conflict.
"I think a humanistic approach is good, such as cutting the troop numbers in Papua. But we still have to remain firm. If not, the armed criminal group will continue what they are doing, and [the conflict] will not end," Jokowi said.
Jokowi also revealed that he had already picked someone to replace Yudo as the navy chief of staff. Jokowi, however, did not disclose who would take up the naval baton. "[The new navy chief] is not a one-star or two-star ranked officer, but he is a three-star," the president told the press.
Yudo was born in Madiun, East Java, on Nov. 26, 1965. He graduated from the naval academy in 1988. Yudo has received a number of military decorations, among others, the Yudha Dharma Pratama. Yudo also became captain of five different Navy ships until 2010.