India needs to act with Indonesia

Alliances crucial to region’s security.

India needs to act with Indonesia for Indo-Pacific security

“This is the time to return to Jalesveva Jayamahe (in the ocean we will triumph). For too long, we’ve neglected the seas, oceans, straits and bays… We must possess the soul of Cakrawarti Samudra (emperor of the sea),” Joko Widodo, the newly sworn-in president of Indonesia said in his inaugural address last month, outlining his vision of turning the archipelagic nation the world’s “maritime axis”.

Joko’s sea-centric speech placed his country instantly in the same wavelength as the US rebalancing, China’s Silk Road initiative and India’s Act East policy, as he has also sought greater engagement with multilateral maritime groupings like the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) that Indonesia is likely to lead at the end of 2015.

During the election campaign, Joko and his running mate Jusuf Kalla had released a Vision Mission (Visi Misi), a policy platform that indicated expanding engagement in the Indo-Pacific, viewing the region as a single geopolitical and strategic entity. Also, it articulated the concept of “dynamic equilibrium” that envisioned cooperation with major powers for inclusive regional development and, as some analysts say, the development of a counterweight to China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea.

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