Jakarta (ANTARA) - Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto is optimistic of Indonesia's ability to maintain its defense system, although the Minimum Essential Force (MEF) target to reach 100 percent in 2024 may not be fulfilled.

"The issue (is) of when we can fulfill (the MEF target), (but) we are confident that we are capable of safeguarding this Republic. We have the strength, (and) our resilience is extraordinary," Subianto stated after opening the Defense Ministry Leadership Meeting here on Wednesday.

According to the minister, Indonesia has extraordinary resilience and strength, in terms of equipment and the country’s defense industry.

"I think our (defense) equipment and the capabilities of the domestic industry are extraordinary. We believe in our own strength," he stated.

The Presidential Regulation (PP) No. 18 of 2020 concerning the National Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMN) for 2020-2024 stipulates that fulfillment of the 100-percent MEF target in 2024 is one of the indicators to maintain national security and stability.

However, the target was revised to 70 percent as part of the MEF fulfillment phase III in 2019-2024. Minister Subianto explained that the delay in achieving the MEF target could not be separated from the world crisis situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is very significant and that the government is focused on protecting the people. Hence, our budget is focused on tackling COVID-19. Then, if the military armament system (target) is delayed, we have to deal with it," he explained.

Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry has appointed state-owned naval shipbuilder PT PAL Indonesia as the lead integrator in refurbishing 41 Navy warships through the signing of a cooperation contract that is part of the efforts to fulfill the MEF target.

Naval Chief of Staff Admiral Muhammad Ali stated on Monday (January 16) that his side has followed up on the ministry’s agreement with PT PAL. For the first phase, the Navy will prioritize the rejuvenation of eight very old warships.

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Translator: Gilang G, Kenzu
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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