Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Army Chief of Staff General Pramono Edhie Wibowo said a total of 164 German-made tanks ordered by the Indonesian government will be delivered before October 5 this year.

"The procurement (of tanks) continues as planned. We hope they will be delivered before October 5," he said following a limited meeting on defense affairs at the presidential office here on Wednesday.

Late last year, the Indonesia Defense Ministry signed a contract with Rheinmetall AG, international technology group of Germany automotive components and defense equipment, for the supply of Leopard main battle tanks.

The contract for the supply of tanks also carries an agreement signed in November 2012 on the transfer of technology. Under the contract, Indonesia will buy Leopard Ri and A24 and medium-sized Marder tank weighing 33 tons.

Indonesia for the first time discussed a plan to buy the tanks with the German company when Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Indonesia last year.

Steffen Seibert, Merkel`s spokesman, said Indonesia is Germany`s important partner, referring to a statement by Merkel who praised Indonesia for being a role model for religious pluralism.

Legislator Tubagus Hasanudin of the House Commission I overseeing defense affairs said he supports the purchase of German-made tanks the more so because Indonesia failed to receive a number of second-hand Leopard tanks from the Dutch government in the middle of last year.

"The Defense Ministry knows what is the best for our country. Last year, Indonesia almost received tanks from the Dutch government. However, this year we will buy tanks directly from their producer (Germany)," he said.

The Dutch government dropped a plan to sell the military`s armament system to Indonesia after they had come under fire from their parliament. (A061/S012)

Editor: Kunto Wibisono
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