4 Jan 2017

Indonesia suspends military cooperation with Australia

5:56 pm on 4 January 2017

Indonesia has suspended all military cooperation with Australia, reportedly over offensive training materials on display at an Australian special forces base.

Indonesia Army Special Forces soldiers (Kopassus) perform a quick attack during a simulated hostage bus hijacking drill in their headquarters complex in Kandang Menjangan, Sukoharjo, Central Java, Indonesia, on Monday, September 16, 2013.

Members of Indonesian special forces group Kopassus take part in a simulated hostage bus hijacking drill in their headquarters complex in Kandang Menjangan, Sukoharjo, Central Java in September 2013. Photo: AFP / EyePress

An Indonesian military spokesman told the ABC cooperation between Indonesia and the Australian Defence Force had been suspended, effective immediately.

The broadcaster said it understood Indonesian special forces group Kopassus trained with Australia's Special Air Service at the unit's base in Perth.

Major General Wuryanto would not confirm the reason for the suspension, saying it was for technical matters, and that there were "ups and downs in every cooperation between two national forces".

He said it was "highly likely" cooperation would resume once the matters had been resolved.

An Indonesian newspaper, Kompas, reported a Kopassus instructor had felt insulted by material on display at the training facility.

Kompas said the "laminated material" was demeaning to Indonesia's founding principles of Pancasila.

It was unclear how long the suspension was for or whether the suspension would affect future joint training exercises between Indonesia and Australia.

Until this incident the military relationship between the two nations had been improving.

In November, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed Australia was considering joint patrols with Indonesia in the contested South China Sea.

Pancasila: Five principles

Pancasila was put in place by Indonesia's founding president, Sukarno.

As set out in the country's 1945 constitution, it is based on five principles: belief in one God; just and civilised humanity; Indonesian unity; democracy under the wise guidance of representative consultations; and social justice for all the peoples of Indonesia.

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

- ABC / Reuters / RNZ

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