Indonesian sea is not only littered with tremendous economic potential, but also the ecological, military and defense buffer, as well as transportation and international trade. Therefore, the government of Indonesia should be able to read its potential and bargaining power in addition to strengthening its position in the changing world geopolitical constellation.
Ali Masykur Musa, chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama Scholar Association (ISNU) made the remarks at its 4th expert panel discussion taking up issues on geopolitics and foreign diplomacy at NU headquarters, Jl Kramat Raya 164 Jakarta (5/11). Present at the occasion were Eddy Prasetyono (UI), Mayjend Abdul Chasib (Lemhanas), and Agus Majend Suryabakti (BNPT).
According to Ali, there are at least two factors that require Indonesia to rearrange its position to make it more robust and stable on the world stage. First, the geopolitical world is changing, which is characterized by a shift in the center of the world economic power and the world defense from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Once the crisis hit America-that has yet to fully recover-and followed by a long recession in Europe, Asia likely appears as a promising economic power. Large countries like the United States are now payin more attention to the developments in the Asia Pacific region. In the President Obama's visit to Australia related to the placement of Marines in Darwin, he stated that the U.S. government's top priority is the Asia Pacific region.
The Obama's statement was reinforced by the U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panette saying that the U.S. would put 60% of military forces in Asia Pacific and would gradually shift the focus of the placement of military forces from the Atlantic to the Paisfik.
In this changing world constellation, countries in the region such as China, Japan, India and Indonesia have a very strategic position. Indonesia itself has now beome the world spotlight as its economy continues to grow at over 6 percent per year and is expected to be The Next Economic superpower in 2030 along with China, India, and South Korea.
Second, Indonesia has the extraordinary marine potential in geopolitical and economic importance. Geopolitically, Indonesia has very strategic archipelagic sea lanes (ALKI) because about 40% of world trade are through the Indonesian straits and waters. The Malacca Strait that connects the islands of Sumatra and Malaysian Peninsula for example is the busiest waterway in the world after the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf.
Many countries rely their state budget and imports and exports on Indonesian waters such as Australia, Singapore, Japan and China. Approximately 80-85% of Australia and Singapore's budget rely on transport traffic in the Indonesian waters. Japan and China rely 80 percent its energy supply from the Middle East through the Strait of Malacca.