Thailand and Indonesia have agreed to enhance their existing military cooperation, a top defense official said on Monday. “Both countries have agreed to increase the existing exchange visits by military officers and defense ministry officials,” Indonesian Defense Ministry Secretary-General Vice Marshal Eris Herryanto said at the ministry on Monday.
“The arrangement is, for example, 10 officers from Thailand to visit military installations in Indonesia and vice versa. This is part of confidence building measures.”
Eris was speaking after a meeting between visiting Thai Defense Minister Gen. Pravit Wongsuwan and Indonesia’s Purnomo Yusgiantoro.
He said both countries agreed to improve cooperative exercises such as the Elang Thainesia air force exercise. Pravit’s visit reciprocated Purnomo’s visit to Bangkok on Feb. 21, where he invited Pravit to make his first visit to Indonesia.
“The invitation is also related to Indonesia’s chairmanship of ASEAN, which will host the Asian Defense Minister Meeting [ADMM] in Jakarta on May 20,” Eris said.
He said there were five fields of cooperation between ASEAN countries on maritime security, counter-terrorism, military medicine, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) and peacekeeping.
When asked about possibly sending Indonesian observers to a disputed area between Cambodia and Thailand, Eris said both countries have agreed to have their foreign ministries as the spearheads and that the Indonesian Defense Ministry would wait for developments from the foreign ministry.
The Indonesian Ambassador to Thailand, Mohammad Hatta, who also attended the meeting, said Indonesia was willing to help the Thailand solve the border problem while respecting the non-interference principles and without violating Thailand’s internal issue.
“We, for example, have brought officials from related Thai agencies to visit Aceh which is predominantly Muslim,” he told reporters.