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Singapore-Indonesia agreements on air space management, defence and extradition enter into force

Channel News Asia - March 22, 2024

Rachel Chan, Singapore – A set of agreements between Singapore and Indonesia – dealing with air space management, defence and extradition – entered into force on Thursday (Mar 21), signalling a "major milestone" in bilateral relations, said Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

He marked the occasion with a telephone call to Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a press statement on Friday.

In a Facebook post, Mr Lee also noted that the agreements reflect both countries' "shared commitment as close neighbours to work towards win-win outcomes for both countries".

"The agreements are a major milestone in relations between Singapore and Indonesia," he wrote.

The three agreements, under what is known as the Expanded Framework, were signed at a leader's retreat in Bintan in January 2022. Indonesia ratified the agreement on the Flight Information Region (FIR) in September that year, and in December, the remaining agreements on defence and extradition.

Air space management

Under the FIR agreement, Indonesia will delegate to Singapore the provision of air navigation services in portions of the air space within the realigned Jakarta FIR.

The agreement will remain in force for 25 years and can be extended by mutual consent.

A country's FIR is a civil aviation demarcation managed by its air traffic service and does not necessarily follow territorial boundaries.

The issue of air space management had been a long-standing one, with Indonesia repeatedly expressing its wish to take over control of the FIR above Riau islands, which had been managed by Singapore since 1946 as mandated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Singapore's response was that the FIR has never been an issue of sovereignty, but of the safety and efficiency of commercial air traffic.

Extradition of fugitives

Under the extradition treaty, fugitives from both countries who have committed 31 types of crime, including corruption, drug and terrorism, will be liable to be extradited.

The agreement also applies to offences committed up to 18 years ago and would mean that people would not be able to escape justice by changing their citizenship.

The type of crimes covered by the treaty must be a criminal offence in both countries and carry a minimum penalty of two years in prison. Both countries agreed to make the list open to changes and additions.

Defence pact

Under the Defence Cooperation Agreement, Singapore and Indonesia will continue to strengthen defence partnerships and deepen cooperation in mutually beneficial areas.

The agreement, which will be in force for 25 years, allows the Singapore military to train in Indonesia, with "full respect for Indonesia's sovereignty over its territory, including its archipelagic and territorial waters and its airspace, and in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)," MFA said previously.

The extradition and defence agreements were previously signed as a package in 2007.

'Historic landmark'

MFA said on Friday that the agreements' entry into force is "a historic landmark in Singapore-Indonesia relations that underscores the strength and maturity of our relationship".

"The agreements signal our shared commitment to working together as neighbours to secure outcomes in the best interest of both our countries," MFA added.

During the telephone call with Mr Widodo, Mr Lee also reaffirmed Singapore's "commitment to work closely with Indonesia to address shared challenges".

He also expressed confidence that the bilateral relationship will continue to break new ground.

Source: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/lee-hsien-loong-indonesia-joko-widodo-expanded-framework-agreements-relationship-421470