AUKUS Two Years On: The View from Indonesia

By Dita Liliansa

Over the almost two years since its historic announcement, the AUKUS agreement has elicited a broad range of regional responses. While some countries have welcomed the strategic alignment that AUKUS brings, others share concerns over increased regional instability, the emergence of antagonistic security blocs, and nuclear proliferation.

To guarantee the security that the pact promises, Australia and its fellow AUKUS partners will need to understand the region’s perspectives.

This series is designed to provide insight into regional responses to AUKUS, two years on. It will delve into the concerns, qualms, and avenues for opportunity in seven Indo-Pacific countries, through the eyes of regional authors.

In the third report of this series, Dita Liliansa, Research Fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Centre for International Law, explores Indonesia’s reactions to the AUKUS pact.

For Indonesia, AUKUS is a question of both national and regional security. Worried that the pact risks provoking China and exacerbating tensions in the South China Sea, the Southeast Asian nation has been one of the partnership’s most vocal adversaries.

Conscious of its vulnerability should a regional conflict break out, Indonesia has voiced concerns over AUKUS destabilising Indo-Pacific relations and triggering an arms race. Fears over the nuclear submarines have also been in the spotlight, with the nation condemning their presence and the potential for nuclear accidents in its sea lanes.

As home to some of the most important sea routes for Australia, Indonesia expects consultation on future defence and security deals. Further transparency is key to positive engagement with Indonesia regarding AUKUS.

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