Defense industry must be master at home: President

Surabaya, East Java (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stated that defense and strategic industries must become the master at home and contribute concretely to development of defense power especially in terms of military hardware.

"God willing, the defense budget will be larger as national budget will also be so. After we allocate part of it for peoples welfare, there will certainly be a bigger portion remaining for the development of our defense power and main weapons system equipment," he noted, when opening the first Policy Committee for Defense Industry (KKIP) here on Wednesday.

To support national defense industrial development, President Yudhoyono has called upon the defense forces and police to use domestically- made main weapons system equipment (alutsista).

"My policy since 2005 is if alutsista and military equipment can be manufactured at home, then it is a must for TNI (the military) and the police to buy the domestic products," he explained.

If the alutsista cannot as yet be made at home they may be jointly produced with other countries, he pointed out.

"That is the policy that we have chosen. If we cannot achieve that as yet and we have to purchase, (we must) also think of transfer of technology," he elaborated.

The President added that he would encourage the establishment of competitive defense industries that will be able to meet domestic needs and even the needs of other countries.

"Our strategic and defense industries must be more competitive and qualitative and must not be inferior as compared to other countries industries," he asserted, while appreciating products from PT PAL and PT Dirgantara Indonesia, ship and aircraft industries respectively.

On the occasion President Yudhoyono also emphasized the importance of continued modernization of defense forces and industries.

"The source of conflicts, perhaps, used to be in Europe during the cold war but now East Asia has also turned into a flash point where an open war could happen at any time. Our interest is not only to maintain our sovereignty and territorial integrity but also our economy to ensure that Indonesia will grow to be a prosperous and just country," he reiterated.

War, he pointed out, will be the last resort, which will be taken to protect Indonesias sovereignty and territorial integrity.

He, however, also reminded that a war is expensive, so it had better be prevented and replaced with political or diplomatic solution but Indonesia, as a sovereign country must remain prepared in case of a war.

During the period of 2010-2013, KKIP has formulated various national policies, which are strategic in the defense industry.

KKIP has also made several national programs, produced blueprints for security and defense equipment research and development and blueprints of security and defense products.

With regard to defense self-sufficiency, the ministry of defense has made a master plan for the development of defense industry for 2010-2029, covering two targets namely main weapons system equipment (alutsista) and defense industry development.

Alutsista products are the ones with high mobility and striking force while the defense industry development target is to meet domestic market demand, compete in the international markets and support economic growth.

With regard to the future alutsista products, KKIP has launched a program for the production of new future products including combat aircraft (IF-X), transport planes, submarines, on surface combat ships, rockets, missiles, unmanned aircraft, radar, combat management system, communication equipment, high-caliber ammunition, air bombs, torpedoes, rocket propellants, combat and armored vehicles.

Before the event President Yudhoyono and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono were presented with demonstration of the Navys alutsista.

Also present at the function were defense forces commander General Moeldoko, army chief of staff General Budiman, navy chief of staff Admiral Marsetio, air force chief of staff Marshal IB Putu Dunia and East Java governor Soekarwo. (*)