Sunday, January 18, 2009

Indonesia to modernize its military in stages

Indonesia's SU 30 MK (Photo: TNI AU)

Indonesia plans to modernize its military but the effort will be done in stages due to a limited budget, Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono said here on Tuesday.

"Modernization is a must as it will improve the country`s deterrent capacity and boost the fighting spirit of the soldiers," he said to ANTARA.

He said the decline in the defense budget for this year would certainly affect the country`s preparedness for military operations.

"The allocation of only Rp33.6 trillion for the defense budget will force careful use of the budget for modernization of weaponry, maintainance of weaponry, improving soldiers` welfare and others," he said.

The minister said the arrival of three Sukhoi fighter jets this year as well as four Sigma Class corvettes and six transport-attack helicopters at least would help increase the deterrent capacity of the country`s three forces to catch up with the technology used in other country`s weapon system.

"Although the number of weapons that we have is not a lot their technology is equal that of other countries and so there is no problem about it. So, it is this technological parity that we are focussing on and improving because we indeed cannot as yet conduct a large-scale modernization effort," he said.

He said his ministry and the defense forces (TNI) headquarters were not discouraged by the drop in the defense budget and therefore the two institutions would not conduct revisions but would continue their strategic plans effectively and efficiently.

A political observer, Andi Widjajanto, earlier said that although the defense ministry and the TNI headquraters had no plan to revise their strategic plan for 2005-2009 they however had to make changes on their long-term strategic plan from 2004-2024.

"The 2004-2024 plan can no longer be used as a reference for the development of defense capability. The real defense capability in 2010 has to be used as a reference for formulating strategic plans for 2010-2030 which also had to be made in 2008-2009," he said. (ANTARA News)

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