Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia's Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto and Australian Deputy Prime Minister (PM) and Defense Minister Richard Marles have agreed to ink a new defense cooperation pact within the next two–three months.

Marles' current visit to Jakarta to meet Subianto is his second in less than a year.

"In the near future, we are planning to sign a defense cooperation agreement with Australia. We hope it can be completed and signed in the next two–three months," Subianto informed at a press conference after his meeting with his Australian counterpart here Friday.

During the meeting, Marles said that discussions on wider defense cooperation were approaching the final stage.

The agreement would hopefully be signed in the next few months, he added.

He said that the cooperation agreement would be the most significant form of defense partnership in the history of relations between Indonesia and Australia.

It will also be the most important moment in this bilateral relationship, he said.

Negotiations on more complete defense cooperation between Indonesia and Australia began in February 2023. They included the 2+2 meeting of Indonesian-Australian foreign ministers and defense ministers in Canberra the same month.

The discussion continued with Subianto meeting Marles at the Ministry of Defense Office in June 2023. After the meeting, Marles said that the new Indonesia-Australia defense cooperation agreement would be more comprehensive and ambitious.

So far, defense cooperation between the two countries has focused on officer and cadet exchanges, education, joint training, and the grant of defense equipment, including that of the Bushmaster tactical vehicle (rantis) for the Indonesian Defense Forces' (TNI's) Peacekeeping Mission Center (PMPP) on April 3, 2023.

On Friday, Marles also congratulated Subianto over securing a lead in the 2024 presidential election's quick count. Subianto and Gibran Rakabuming Raka are running for the post of president and vice president, respectively.

Australia is closely watching the election, he said, adding that he was happy to be able to congratulate Subianto in person, and looking forward to their next meeting.

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Translator: Genta Tenri M, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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