Australia and Indonesia at odds at sea

Australia’s and Indonesia’s conflicting interests on law of the sea issues.

Australia and Indonesia at odds at sea

Author: Sam Bateman, RSIS

Australia and Indonesia both have a keen interest in the law of the sea as both possess large maritime areas of jurisdiction. But this commonality does not mean their interests necessarily coincide. Australia has a keen interest in freedoms of navigation through the archipelagos to its north, but Indonesia, as the largest of these archipelagos, is most sensitive to the movement of foreign ships and aircraft in and around its archipelagic waters.

For Indonesians, the sea is an integral part of the nation-state. The concepts ofnusantara and tanah air, which see the islands of the Indonesian archipelago as linked together despite their physical separation, are fundamental principles of nation-building for Indonesia.

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