I resolve to put in writing this piece as a result of there’s a whole lot of misperception and clichés about Indonesia within the media and even many assume tanks. Typically folks comment that the nation is not cohesive and can balkanize. Many Australian observers have been saying this for the reason that 1950s. This submit will clarify geographical and historic coherence of Indonesia.

First, Indonesia have to be understood as a West-East Thalassocracy oriented round commerce very similar to civilizations in Mediterranean. The buying and selling concern transitioned right into a plantation economic system, and from this arose the plantation-settler state. The Indonesia’s geostrategic drive even earlier than it turned unbiased was furthering the territorial growth and exploitation (ie furthering the plantation system). Indonesia’s international coverage all through a lot of its historical past concerned advancing this type of nation constructing — securing Indonesia’s independence, recognition for Indonesia’s “territorial growth / consolidation”

The submit will likely be organized as follows












Indonesia’s geostrategic doc is Wawasan Nusantara or ARCHIPELAGIC OUTLOOK. It states Indonesia’s geography. the Indonesia’s geographical challenges, and the right way to cope with them. Wawasan Nusantara relies on the Djuanda Declaration which acknowledged:

  • Indonesia is an archipelagic state made up hundreds of islands

  • All of the islands and the seas connecting these Island fall below Indonesia’s nationwide territory

  • Free peaceable navigation by international ships by these waters will likely be assured, so long as they do not disrupt Indonesia’s sovereignty.

The declaration was made formalized into legislation in 1960, and serves as the idea for Indonesia’s archipelagic state idea submitted to the UN.

Over time, 4 most important themes emerged out of this conception(1) an everlasting concern over geographical location; (2) a suspicion towards extra-regional powers; (3) an aspiration for regional activism and management; and (4) a priority over nationwide unity within the wake of fragmented geography.


Indonesia relaxation between Pacific and Indian Ocean, and between the Asian and Australian continents. As proven on the map there are 4 entry factors from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean that throughout Indonesia – Malacca Strait, Sunda Strait (ALKI I), Celebes-Lombok Strait (AKLIII), Banda Sea (ALKI–III)

In line with a Rand Report revealed in 2013 Using Land-Primarily based Anti-Ship Missiles within the Western Pacific

Each Indonesia and Malaysia have strong arsenals of medium-range ASMs that, if these nations had been prepared, might successfully have interaction targets wherever alongside the strait’s roughly 730-km size… can be troublesome to defeat with out using land forces to find these missile methods, that are cell and comparatively small in dimension … Ships coming from the Indian Ocean might merely use the next-closest waterways, the Sunda and Lombok straits. Nevertheless, the narrowness of those passages signifies that they could possibly be simply coated with short-range missiles as effectively

The archipelago of 18,108 islands contains 2.Eight km2 (92,877 sq. km of inland waters), 1,826,440 km2 of land, and if the EEZ is factored in, the nation’s space stretches to 7.9 million km2. Beneath is a map of Indonesia tremendous imposed on Europe.

r/geopolitics - Indonesian State Formation and its Geostrategic Posture

Nevertheless. regardless of the huge expense, East-West orientation means its aligned with the commerce winds, which offer conduit for commerce and migration very similar to the Mediterranean


All the massive states in Maritime Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia) are Austronesian Thalassocracies.

Roughly 97% of Indonesians are Austronesian/Half Austronesian. Indonesian in addition to 400 different Austronesian languages are spoken because the native tongue by 98% of Indonesians.. Indonesia is the world’s largest Austronesian nation. Beneath are a maps of ethnic and non secular distribution Nevertheless, the map solely reveals the geographical unfold based mostly of their area of origin.

r/geopolitics - Indonesian State Formation and its Geostrategic Posture
r/geopolitics - Indonesian State Formation and its Geostrategic Posture

The primary motive why I introduce Indonesia as an Austronesian entity, as a result of there Austronesians components in Indonesia’s nationwide symbols.

Secondly, it helps to grasp Maritime Southeast Asia. The essential cultural id of Maritime Southeast Asia is Austronesian. The salim gesture is discovered throughout the area, whether or not within the Philippines (known as Mano within the Philippines), Malaysia and in Indonesia from a governor,jungle nomads in Sumatra to Papuans dwelling in coastal areas.. The non-Austronesian influences like Hindu-Buddhist, Muslim or Christian are layers of tradition on high of the Austronesian core.

Lastly, Austronesian tradition influences settlement and in the end Indonesian geopolitics. In line with Eurasianist Petr Savitsky, a civilization or group of individuals, have a selected mestorazvitie or place of growth. That is to reply perrendial query whether or not Indonesia goes to invade Australia. The reply isn’t any For Austronesians their mestorazvitie has been islands, notably ones with volcanos. Austronesian civilizations are primarily discovered on sub-tropical/tropical volcanic islands. 90% of Austronesians dwell on volcanic islands, the volcanic soils compensate for the dearth of enormous river basins.


Indonesia is the one main Island nation aligned longitudinally. The muse of longitudinal thalassocracies is commerce, due to the alignment with East-West commerce wins.

Within the Mediterranean, Phoenician merchants created the community of ports that finally turned the Carthaginian Empire. Within the Baltic, it was German merchants from Northern Germany travelling and establishing store in varied ports that laid the inspiration for Hanseatic League.

r/geopolitics - Indonesian State Formation and its Geostrategic Posture

Hanseatic League

In Indonesian archipelago, varied migratory buying and selling communities just like the Malays in Western Indonesia and Bugis / Makassarsse within the Jap Indonesia created a community that the Dutch East Indies Firm (VOC) grafted onto.

One other comparable attribute was the event of buying and selling lingua franca, throughout the Iron Age in Mediterranean it was Phoenancian, Hanseatic League it was Center Low German(MLG) and within the Indonesian archipelago it was Malay. In Indonesia, the affect of Malay was established even earlier than it was adopted as Indonesia’s nationwide language. Malay creoles are spoken as the principle language stretch from Jakarta to the Papuan Hen’s Head.


The principle geostrategic dichotomy in Indonesia is the Java (Core) vs outer islands (Periphery), it informs Indonesian debates on growth, defense-security, and socio-political.

The island of Java was the inhabitants middle of Maritime Southeast Asia. In 1800 it had a inhabitants higher than the remainder of Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines mixed. Even at present, Java has solely 6% of Indonesia land mass, however 57% of its inhabitants.

What made Java enticing for human habitation was the best density of energetic volcanoes of the foremost islands in SEA, comparatively few earthquakes since its 500 km away from kilometers from main fault strains. Java resembles the Italian Peninsula within the Mediterranean, one other location that benefited from volcanic soils.

r/geopolitics - Indonesian State Formation and its Geostrategic Posture
r/geopolitics - Indonesian State Formation and its Geostrategic Posture

A serious debate in Indonesian discourse is the developmental inequality between Java )notably Jakarta) and the remainder. There have been accusations of Javanese Imperialism (the dominant ethnic group in Indonesia), that pure assets from the remainder of Indonesia help Java. Actuality is per capita incomes on Java are the identical because the nationwide common. This notion stays giant as a result of Java had a head begin on growth throughout the colonial interval and it attracts a whole lot of funding relative to its bodily space (50% of Indonesia’s international funding finally ends up on Java)

From a protection viewpoint, the exhausting core and hallow periphery has been a attribute vulnerability.

The Mongols in 1292 and Japanese in 1942 sailed proper into Java with little resistance within the outer islands.

r/geopolitics - Indonesian State Formation and its Geostrategic Posture

Japanese Invasion Route

The Java vs Outer island divide additionally translate into political variations. The Javanese (96% of who’re Muslim)( vote for left wing secular / average Islamic events / candidates, whereas non-Javanese Muslims vote for extra proper wing secular / hardline Islamic events / candidates.


The muse of the Indonesian state begins with the reign of Hanyakrakusuma (Sultan Agung) the third ruler of the Mataram Sultanate,1613-1645,

Throughout his reign he expanded the Sultanate from Central Java to cowl nearly all of Java. Previous to his reign, kingdom in Indonesia had been sea based mostly buying and selling kingdoms, with direct management over small pockets of land. It postulated that Sultan Agung believed you wanted to overcome Java first, earlier than conquering the remainder of the archipelago. The Hindu-Buddhist Majapahit tried to do that, with out bringing Western Java below their management.

Sultan Agung launched a centralized administration to handle conquered territory, in distinction to the vassal system of a Mandala polity used earlier than . He assigned adipati (Dukes) to rule provinces referred to as kadipaten. Previously defeated enemies usually continued to rule their fiefdom as vassals of the conquering kingdom; below Sultan Agung they had been held as “prisoners” within the capital. On account of the centralization and remedy of defeated enemies, the reign of Sultan’s Agung and his successors was certainly one of conflict. and revolt

When the VOC took over Mataram territories within the mid-1700s, they stored this construction whereas solely altering terminology. Adipati turned Bupati (Regent or Regenten ) and kadipaten turned Kebupaten (Regency or Regentschappen).. Indonesia nonetheless makes use of this construction, however with the province changing the residency.

Till its chapter in 1796, the VOC remained primarily a maritime buying and selling concern, Nevertheless, the plantations it setup in West Java in early 1700s, turned the financial justification for territorial growth and conquest that continued into late 20th century.

r/geopolitics - Indonesian State Formation and its Geostrategic Posture

What made this growth doable was the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824, which resolved the lengthy standing disputes between the Dutch and British, and set clear sphere of affect. It divided the Malacca Strait down the center and established the borders of British Malaya and Dutch East Indies, and by extension modern-day Malaysia and Indonesia.


Indonesia is a plantation-settler state, with the plantation and settler elements separating and merging all through historical past


The primary Dutch plantations had been in-built West Java within the late 18th century

Nevertheless, in 1800, a lot of Java was nonetheless jungle, however inside a century Java was considered by many because the world’s most trendy plantation economic system. New lands had been opened up, and peasants had been compelled to develop money crops. Farmers allotted transformed irrigated rice fields for money crops, and marginal lands was used to develop corn, cassava and candy potato. Consequently Java was affected by famines till the 1970s, when Suharto transitioned irrigated lands again to rising rice,

By the mid-19th century, the Dutch had opened up espresso and rubber plantations in Sumatra, and by 1880s they start to import Javanese coolies.

From 1900-1960, plantation crops made up about 50-60% of Dutch East Indies/Indonesia exports. Whereas Java transitioned away from plantation economic system within the 1970s, the economies of the outer islands are nonetheless plantation economies. Palm Oil and different money crops nonetheless make up 30% of Indonesia’s exports.


Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines had authorities human resettlement packages. Nevertheless, Indonesia’s was probably the most intensive, 20 Million folks and their descendants are merchandise of the transmigration program.

There are 4 generally cited causes for the resettlement:

The primary transmigration settlement was established in Lampung on the Southern tip of Sumatra in 1905. From 1949-67, about 578,000 transmigrants had been despatched.


Below Suharto from 1967-2000, Indonesia despatched over 5.5 Million transmigrants, and throughout the peak from 1979-1984, they despatched 2.Four Million. The bulk had been landless agricultural staff, Here’s a map of all of the transmigrant areas since 1905.

r/geopolitics - Indonesian State Formation and its Geostrategic Posture

There have been 4 classes of transmigrants. Transmigrants who migrated from one other area (normally Java and Bali), those that moved from one settlement to a different, those that had been moved due to pure disasters and spontaneous migrants who funded their very own bills for the transfer.

Transmigrants had been from one area (ie Java or Bali), however not from one explicit village. On this interval they normally settled non-Muslims in non-Muslim areas, largely to keep away from conflicts over elevating pigs.

Settlement had been normally constructed away from the native villages/cities to keep away from battle. Whereas in colonial and Sukarno period settlements transmigrants cleared the land, by 1970s infrastructure, housing and help services constructed earlier than transmigrants arrived. The associated fee in 1977 to maneuver a household of 5 was US$1200 and by the early 1990s it elevated to US$4200 The associated fee included transport, land, housing supplies, instruments, seeds and preliminary meals provides. It is a vital sum given the nation’s per capita earnings was solely US$500 in 1990. Indonesia funded this from authorities income and loans from the World Financial institution and Asian Improvement Financial institution (ADB)


Indonesia’s plantations and settlements have been related to Land Disputes and Environmental Destruction, Patronage and Corruption and Ethnic and Spiritual Battle.

Land Disputes and Environmental Destruction

Many of the land disputes involving native inhabitants had been with plantations and spontaneous migrants, Konsorsium Pembaruan Agraria (Consortium for Agrarian Reform, KPA), an Indonesian NGO, documented greater than 650 land-related conflicts affecting over 650,000 households in 2017 ( 502,000 Ha ).

Indonesia has one of many highest charges of deforestation on the earth, with greater than 74 million hectares (285,700 sq. miles) of rainforest, an space practically twice the scale of Japan – logged, burned or degraded within the final half century, based on Greenpeace.

r/geopolitics - Indonesian State Formation and its Geostrategic Posture

Corruption and Patronage

The opening of recent lands is a corrupt course of even by Indonesian requirements. Embezzlement is increased as a result of new infrastructure is being constructed and as a result of distance from Jakarta.

The second sort of corruption is the fee of bribes for permits, licenses and titles. Here’s a listing of current circumstances

Lastly, each the Indonesian Navy (notably the Military) and Police had been and are nonetheless concerned in illicit exercise, like smuggling, drug trafficking, safety rackets and unlawful logging.

In respect, to the navy, this participation is an offshoot of working reliable companies from 1945-2010, and has been successfully phased out, The navy involvement in enterprise arose throughout the Conflict of Independence 1945-49. when it had elevate cash to help themselves. In 2009, it was estimated the INdonesian navy companies had about US$350 Million in property, and generated a revenue of US$ 29.5 Million / 12 months.. As a result of these enterprises now not exist and in addition as a result of rise in retirement age, the Indonesian Military has a whole bunch of colonels and common with no useful place.


Given the dimensions of this system, the consensus amongst students is there was comparatively little ethnic and non secular conflicts between transmigrants and native inhabitants,. Many of the violent incidents had occurred in Sukarno period initiatives the place they put non-Muslim migrants in Muslim areas and vice versa like with Balinese Hindu migrants and Lampung natives in Sumatra (2012). Put up-Sukarno period initiatives averted this by attempting to settle non-Muslim settlers in non-Muslim areas.


On this dialogue, I’ll discuss bodily infrastructure, and the federal government devices used to safe management — civilian forms and the navy.


From the late 18th century till just lately, the transportation community (roads, railways and ports) and irrigation methods had been prioritized. The transportation networks had been designed to move crops(and in a while pure assets from plantations and mines to close by ports for export markets. In the mean time solely Java has a islandwide rail system and expressway. In all the opposite main islands, there isn’t any expressway, only a sequence of roads connecting to one another, which can or might not kind an island large system.

Export manufacturing industries setup ranging from the 1980s adopted the same sample. Most export industries, like in the remainder of Southeast Asia, are home in industrial estates

The main target of Energy era is to produce trade and industrial estates. On account of this deal with industrial energy era, as just lately as 2004 electrification was solely 50% (now its 99.8%)

On account of this property focus, nationwide connectivity remains to be poor. Logistics sectors is affected by lengthy supply occasions and unreliability.

After Reformasi, infrastructure spending dropped from 9% of GDP within the mid-1990s to three.6% in 2014. Nevertheless, on account of large infrastructure push below the present President, Joko Widodo, as of 2019 its 6% of GDP. Since 2014, the main target has been to deal with problems with distribution and connectivity. Lengthy delayed infrastructure initiatives like Trans Java expressway, Trans Papuan Street Community and Jakarta MRT have been accomplished


From the colonial period to 2003, the Indonesian state was centralized, the regional governments, provincial and district (regency) solely managed 14% of presidency expenditure. The middle managed practically all capital expenditure. and executed packages based mostly on centralized 5 12 months plans

The centralized forms was essential to settle giant numbers of individuals from one a part of the nation to a different, as a result of you will have finish to finish management. In Indonesia, transmigration was dealt with and coordinated by Division of Transmigration.

After 1998, the Indonesian authorities applied an enormous decentralizing push. The centralized 5 12 months Plans had been scrapped, budgets, some income accumulating authority, private and property had been devolved to regional governments. 60% of central authorities forms had been transferred to regional governments (2.1 Million folks)


On the core of Indonesia’s navy doctrine is Abdul Haris Nasution’s Fundamentals of Guerrilla Warfare (1953) who served as Military Chief of Workers from 1949-52 and 1955-66. Nasution, having fought on each side, noticed insurgency and counter insurgency as two sides of the identical coin. Secondly, given the weak point of Indonesia navy and airforce, the exterior protection of Indonesia can be organized as a folks’s guerilla conflict with the navy taking the lead function.

As well as, Nasution was a key proponent within the Indonesia’s Military adoption of the Prussian Wehrkreis (navy district) as a technique of territorial protection and troop mobilization. The Indonesian Military has 15 KODAM (Komando Daerah Militer or Regional Navy Instructions) Every Kodam is split smaller territorial items, with the smallest being village stage command (BABINSA). On the middle there’s the Strategic Reserves (KOSTRAD) and the Particular Forces (KOPASSUS)

r/geopolitics - Indonesian State Formation and its Geostrategic Posture

There are three further Kodam shaped for the reason that map was produced, Kodam Trikora has break up into Kasuari and Cenderawasih, Kodam Wirabuana break up into Hasanuddin and Merdeka.

Nasution additionally got here up with the Navy’s twin perform (Dwifungsi) function in 1955, which the federal government applied in 1966. It stipulated beside the navy’s protection capabilities, the navy ought to take part in each effort and exercise of the folks within the discipline of ideology, politics and economics. The navy was given reserved seats in Parliament, in addition to vital positions within the civilian forms, state owned firms and regional authorities (metropolis mayors and provincial governors).

The democratic transition had a serious influence on the navy in 3 ways. First the navy now not adheres to dwifungsi function. Reserved seats in parliament have been eradicated, and now not parachuted into civilian positions like mayor. Secondly, the main target of the Indonesian navy is now exterior protection. Thirdly, the budgets of the Navy and Airforce has been elevated. Fourthly, the Armed Forces Chief of Workers is rotated between three branches, earlier than it was held by a military generals. Since 2019, the Indonesian navy has been organized on a joint command system Kogabwilhan (Komando Gabungan Wilayah Pertahanan) with a Western, Central and Jap Joint Command.


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