Padang, West Sumatra (ANTARA) - The National Resilience Council (Wantannas) has said that Indonesia can become a global maritime axis on account of its strategic position in global trade.

"Some 60 percent of the global economy is through the sea, and (out of) which 40 percent crosses Indonesia. Hence, Indonesia must harness the benefits (from this potential) instead of merely being passed through," Wantannas secretary general Vice Admiral Harjo Susmoro said during a public lecture at Andalas University here on Wednesday.

As the largest island country covering an area of 8.3 million square kilometers, with 6.4 million square kilometers of national maritime jurisdiction and 17,504 islands, Indonesia is worthy of global maritime axis status, he added.

Indonesia also has inland and territorial water bodies covering an area of 3.4 million square kilometers, exclusive economic zones spanning 3 million square kilometers, and a shoreline measuring 108 thousand kilometers, the secretary general added.

"Indonesia is located between the Pacific and Indian oceans," Susmoro noted.

In terms of size, Indonesia’s area is roughly equal to continental Europe, which consists of 33 sovereign countries, he said.

"Continental Europe has 33 national leaders, while Indonesia, roughly with a size equal to Europe, is united under a single head of state," Susmoro added.

He said that as the fourth most populated country, Indonesia has 278 million residents, out of whom 1.68 million are active in the maritime sector.

During the first National Meeting on Maritime in 1963, the nation’s founder Soekarno said that Indonesians must become an archipelagic nation, he observed.

"Soekarno stated that as our ancestors are seafarers, the Indonesian nation cannot become formidable if we are not controlling the sea and not becoming a maritime nation," he added.

Soekarno's remarks highlight the fact that the Indonesian seas must serve as a medium of national unity, national defense, and transportation, as well as a source of natural wealth, he said.

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Translator: Ikhwan Wahyudi, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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