Government criticized for lack of unity over Australia`s insult

"The people strongly support the firm stance shown by the TNI chief, but statements by other officials belittling the issue badly disappoint them," Prof Hikmahanto Juwana said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - A professor in international relations criticized lack of unity in the positions of Indonesia authorities facing alleged insult by Australia of Indonesia state ideology of Pancasila.

Prof Hikmahanto Juwana of the state University of Indonesia said the government authorities should reflect unity in issuing statements over suspension of military cooperation between Indonesia and Australia.

"It is necessary that the message the military (TNI) chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo wanted to send is well conveyed to the Australian military personnel, officials or institutions," he said here on Friday.

General Gator wanted to tell the Australians that Indonesia is offended with such arrogance especially as it concerns the state ideology, he added.

Gator has announced suspension of military cooperation with Australia saying that insult to the state ideology could not be tolerated and accepted, but Coordinating Minister for Law, Security and Political Affairs Wiranto said Indonesia had suspended cooperation only in language training.

"The suspension is temporary and it would be resumed after Australia resolved the case," Wiranto said.

Hikmahanto said the mass media in Australia already commented widely on how Indonesia had backed down from hard line position on suspending military cooperation with Australia after statement by Wiranto that the issue concerned only officers in the field that should not affect relations between the two countries.

"The government needs to show unity in stance that Australia would not pass it as a minor issue . In Indonesia insulting remark of Pancasila would face the law," he said.

Firm position needs to be shown by the government so as not to disappoint the people, he said.

"The people strongly support the firm stance shown by the TNI chief , but statements by other officials belittling the issue badly disappoint them," he said.

He said the TNI chief with his statement demand correction of any mistake to prevent more serious damage to the relations.

"Bilateral relations must be with mutual respect. Tolerance must not be shown with weaknesses," he added.

Australia has expressed regret with and apologized for the incident.(*)

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