Indonesia and the UAE Have a Probability to Strengthen Ties

On April 28, the United Arab Emirates despatched 20 tons of medical aids for the prevention and management of the novel coronavirus in Indonesia. This tools is predicted to assist round 20,000 medical personnel in coping with COVID-19, the illness attributable to the coronavirus. Whereas the help was simply the most recent in a sequence of such initiatives, it nonetheless places the highlight on Indonesia’s relations with the UAE, which have intensified for the reason that COVID-19 pandemic started.

COVID-19: What Indonesia Can Study From South Korea and Taiwan


The current strengthening of Indonesia–UAE ties was demonstrated when President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo visited Abu Dhabi in mid-January and signed 16 agreements with the UAE’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. The offers, that are deemed as the largest in Indonesian historical past, consist of 5 government-to-government agreements within the fields of faith, training, agriculture, well being and counterterrorism. Additionally they contain 11 business-to-business offers in numerous sectors, together with oil and gasoline, petrochemicals, ports, telecommunications and analysis. The estimated whole worth of this funding stands at $22.9 billion, or about 314.9 trillion rupiahs.

Altering Relations

Though Indonesia was not one of many UAE’s main shoppers for power beforehand, this may occasionally quickly change. This truth was showcased by a $270-million deal on liquefied petroleum gasoline between Indonesia’s state-owned power company PT Pertamina and the Abu Dhabi Nationwide Oil Firm (ADNOC). The 2 corporations, together with the UAE’s funding automobile, Mubadala, additionally signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) titled, “Evaluat[ing] a Potential Crude to Petrochemical Advanced Challenge at Balongan” in West Java value $12.6 billion.

These agreements have been additionally accompanied by one other $3-billion long-term deal on naphtha provide between ADNOC and PT Chandra Asri Petrochemical Tbk. These developments have been maybe attributable to the fall in power calls for among the many UAE’s typical shoppers, akin to China and the US, because of the coronavirus lockdowns around the globe.

One other necessary sector that Indonesia and the UAE agreed to spice up their cooperation is protection, which has been the key spotlight within the two international locations’ ties lately. In February, when the lethal coronavirus was spreading quick around the globe, Indonesian Protection Minister Prabowo Subianto went to Abu Dhabi to satisfy with the UAE’s Minister of State for Protection Mohammed Ahmed al-Bowardi to strengthen protection diplomacy between the 2 international locations.

In addition to protection diplomacy, Subianto additionally explored potential cooperation on the manufacturing of drones, weaponries, munitions and aerospace. The go to between the 2 high protection officers additionally centered on cross-training in counterterrorism operations and their utility in sizzling spots all through the Center East and Africa. 

You will need to word that the UAE opened up a protection attaché workplace in Jakarta in December 2019. At the moment, Malian Prime Minister Boubou Cisse and Malian Ambassador to the UAE Boukary Sidibe met with Bowardi to debate Emirati and Indonesian help to Mali and the remainder of the G5 Sahel nations. This growth of military-to-military relations throughout the Sahel by the UAE is illustrative of Abu Dhabi’s scope of transregional operations, which can develop additional within the wake of the UAE’s pandemic help.

Past power and protection sectors, Jakarta and Abu Dhabi emphasised their purpose to companion in selling a average understanding of Islam which, in response to the 2 sides, “is essential for efforts to stop extremism and terrorism.” This collaboration was marked by the signing of an MoU by Indonesia’s Ministry of Spiritual Affairs and the UAE’s Normal Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowment.

The UAE’s Mushy Energy

The partnership will contain exchanging experiences growing the capability of imams and preachers in boosting the UAE’s comfortable energy “tolerance and moderation” idea, in addition to sharing experiences and experience within the discipline of Quran memorization, translation and publication. Each international locations additionally agreed to alternate delegates in Islamic boards and to cooperate within the development of mosques. Indonesia has closed all mosques within the nation as a part of its measures to curb the unfold of the coronavirus, and it has broadcast companies and academic classes by way of the web. In a single sense, this falls inside the concept of Islamic boarding colleges, besides it’s on-line and to a large viewers.

Accordingly, the UAE has determined to construct the Mohammed bin Zayed Grand Mosque in Solo, Central Java, that may allow students, politicians and teachers from each nations to debate methods to strengthen non secular moderation. Indonesia and the UAE additionally agreed to cooperate in implementing digital teaching programs for madrasa college students and to strengthen their partnership within the halal meals sector.

The general goal of this Emirati comfortable energy effort is build up the idea of the Abrahamic home, the place Christianity, Islam and Judaism exist collectively beneath one roof and to make use of that precept to information non secular dialogue between the 2 international locations by way of “tolerance and moderation.”

Lately, as a part of the settlement’s implementation, Indonesia’s Nationwide Standardization Company (BSN) inked a cope with the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology to acknowledge one another’s halal certificates. Such a partnership is aimed toward enabling Indonesian merchandise to achieve the UAE’s market, and vice-versa.

Actually, the UAE’s newest COVID-19 help to Indonesia was simply the most recent growth within the rising Jakarta–Abu Dhabi relations lately. Since 1976, the 2 governments have witnessed outstanding, but silent, development of their two-way relationship. In 2020, these strikes by the UAE are a part of increasing the nation’s comfortable energy coverage.

One necessary growth that’s usually missed is that Jokowi has determined to nominate Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed as a member of a steering board for his new capital plan, alongside Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

In search of Different Companions

Towards the backdrop of any potential financial downturn in China in addition to the US and Europe attributable to Beijing’s commerce struggle with Washington and now the coronavirus pandemic, many international locations — together with the UAE and Indonesia — have tried to search out various companions. Indonesia’s geographical place as Southeast Asia’s greatest economic system and a G20 member makes it an alluring goal for funding. With a inhabitants of greater than 267 million, Indonesia is an attractive client marketplace for Emirati exports. This issue is why the UAE’s funding within the Indonesia archipelago is essentially the most dominant amongst Gulf Arab international locations, in response to Indonesia’s Funding Coordinating Board (BKPM), which has established a consultant workplace in Abu Dhabi. 

On the identical time, Indonesia’s strategic location presents the Emirates a gap to spice up its ties with different international locations that make up the Affiliation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc. Specifically, the UAE’s relationship with neighboring Malaysia is problematic, given earlier points between Abu Dhabi and Kuala Lumpur on points starting from Islamic affairs to monetary points involving the 1MBD investigation. By tightening their relationship, each Abu Dhabi and Jakarta can put strain on Kuala Lumpur’s Islamic “credentials” concerning political points akin to Kashmir and Islamophobia. Nonetheless, all three nations complement one another by way of mil-to-mil relations.

For Indonesia, long-standing anti-Chinese language sentiment, which has grown amid the COVID-19 pandemic, has offered problem for China, which is one in all Indonesia’s largest traders. Consequently, bolstering relations with fellow Muslim-majority international locations within the Center East is seen as a safer choice by Jakarta. The China-US commerce struggle has pushed some corporations to decide on Southeast Asian nations over China as a base for his or her operations, however few have opted for Indonesia, inflicting Jakarta to look to the Gulf.

To be clear, COVID-19 has supplied Indonesia and the UAE with an opportunity to boost their bilateral relations at a essential time in transregional relationships. The UAE will stay necessary to Indonesia as a rustic within the Gulf that may function a gateway to new markets in addition to a significant hub for the biggest Muslim-majority nation’s growth all through the larger Center East. Help from Abu Dhabi might steer its ties with Indonesia in a extra strategic path.

*[Gulf State Analytics is a companion establishment of Truthful Observer.]

The views expressed on this article are the writer’s personal and don’t essentially mirror Truthful Observer’s editorial coverage.

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