The relationship between Indonesia and Myanmar looks set to warm up, at least where the military and minerals are concerned
The relationship between Indonesia and Myanmar looks set to warm up, at least where the military Myanmar is scheduled to host an Asean military forces summit at the start of this month and is seeking stronger ties with Southeast Asia’s largest nation.
Last month in Jakarta, Myanmar’s armed forces chief Min Aung Hlaing discussed joint military exercises and reciprocal visits with his Indonesian counterparts. It was his first time in Indonesia and he came out of the discussions with an invitation for his country to participate in a peacekeeping training course to be held in Indonesia.
Mineral-wise, last month Indonesian mining corporation PT Timah was granted a 4,047-hectare tin ore-exploration concession area in Myanmar’s southern Tanintharyi Division. The firm hopes to obtain permits for other areas of Myanmar this year.
Relations between the two countries have been tense in recent years due to the plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar. As the world’s most populous Muslim country, Indonesia has been active in its condemnation of Myanmar’s treatment of the stateless Muslim minority.
Several plots to ‘avenge’ the Rohingya have taken place in Jakarta. Police foiled a plot to bomb Myanmar’s embassy in Jakarta, and an explosion at a Buddhist temple last year contained a note, reading: “We are responding to the screams of the Rohingya.”
Developments with Myanmar come at a time when Indonesia is becoming isolated from some of its neighbours.
Singapore banned from its ports an Indonesian ship named after two marines who were executed for the fatal bombing of an office complex in the city-state during the 1960s.
And its historically rocky relationship with Canberra is worsening following a spying scandal and tensions over boats of immigrants — although in these instances, it is Australia’s actions causing the controversy.