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Indonesian leaders discuss national defense and future strategy in high-level meeting

INDONESIA — In a significant development for Indonesia’s national security and political landscape, Minister of Defense and Chairman of the Gerindra Party, Prabowo Subianto, recently met with President Joko Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi, at the Bogor Presidential Palace in West Java.

The meeting, held on the afternoon of Sunday, July 16, 2023, also saw the participation of Minister of State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN), Erick Thohir.

The meeting came to light through an Instagram post by Prabowo Subianto on his official account (@prabowo) on Tuesday (18 Jul).

The post featured a photo of Prabowo, President Jokowi, and Erick Thohir dining together, with Prabowo stating that they had received guidance from the President.

“I and Mr. @erickthohir received instructions from President @jokowi,” wrote Prabowo in his Instagram post.

In his caption, Prabowo emphasized the need for a strong and advanced national defense industry for Indonesia.

When asked by journalists about the possibility of Erick Thohir becoming his running mate in the 2024 Presidential Election (Pilpres), Prabowo responded by saying that they were still observing the developments and engaging in coalition discussions.

“This is an evolving process; discussions and coalition dialogues will be established. We will see how it develops,” said Prabowo at Kertanegara IV, South Jakarta. He clarified that the meeting took place in his capacity as the Minister of Defense.

Prabowo also responded when asked why they discussed national issues during the weekend. “National matters do not take weekends off, be it Saturday or Sunday,” he said.

Erick Thohir, speaking to reporters on Wednesday (19 Jul), revealed that the focus of the meeting was on Indonesia’s defense industry.

He emphasized the importance of not lagging behind in building a robust defence industry, given the current geopolitical situation. Erick stressed that Indonesia aimed to strengthen its defence capabilities to ensure preparedness against any external security disruptions.

As a result of the discussions, both President Jokowi and Prabowo expressed interest in examining the ammunition manufacturing industry in Malang, East Java.

Erick elaborated on this, explaining that the President intended to relocate PT Pindad and PT Dirgantara Indonesia to Subang, West Java, to create an integrated defence industrial zone.

Following the meeting, Erick Thohir promptly involved Deputy Minister of State-Owned Enterprises Rosan Perkasa Roeslani, who oversees the defence industry, to follow up on the outcomes of the discussions.

When questioned about why the meeting was scheduled over the weekend, Erick emphasized that it was a regular occurrence as there was no pressing urgency. He noted that President Jokowi often worked on weekends, citing his recent trip to Bengkulu and plans for a toll road inauguration.

Erick further stated that President Jokowi was keen on accelerating progress in various industries, considering his remaining year in office. He highlighted the importance of continuing to push for advancements in these areas.

Habiburokhman, Deputy Chairman of the Gerindra Party

Habiburokhman, Deputy Chairman of the Gerindra Party, shed light on the content of the meeting between the three leaders.

He revealed that the discussions revolved around national issues and how the government could effectively serve the people. Additionally, the trio also discussed strategies to ensure that Jokowi’s achievements and policies would continue beyond his presidency.

In response to the news of the meeting, the Chairperson of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle’s Central Executive Board, Puan Maharani, remarked that such encounters were natural in politics and played an essential role in fostering mutual understanding among parties.

Puan Maharani, the Chairperson of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle’s Central Executive Board

The meeting between President Jokowi, Minister Prabowo Subianto, and Minister Erick Thohir demonstrates a commitment to national defense and the strategic planning of Indonesia’s future.

As discussions continue, the nation awaits further updates on their collaborative efforts in shaping Indonesia’s defense industry and preparing for the upcoming 2024 Presidential Election.

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