TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander General Endriartono Sutarto has welcomed the resumption of the International Military Education Training (IMET) program by the US government.
However, Sutarto requested the US government not to burden the program with conditions that would “disturb the national dignity” of Indonesia.
“We are grateful that this program has been resumed as the IMET program was a manifestation of the relations between the US and Indonesian militaries,” Sutarto said following a working meeting with the House of Representatives (DPR) defense commission in Jakarta on Monday (28/02).
According to the TNI Commander, the IMET program must be based on equality
and respect as regards military relations between the two countries. Sutarto said that the TNI would first study the condition related to the program, which has been halted since 1992. If the requirements tend to be political and disturb the dignity of Indonesia, he said “We will have to review the matter.”
Sutarto added that the TNI has implemented many changes in order to persuade the US government into resuming this military program with Indonesia. All these changes, he said, were for “the interest of the nation.”
“We are very glad to see that the US government has been pleased with these changes and resumed the IMET program,” stated Sutarto.
In addition to the IMET program, Sutarto said that the TNI would make use of the US offer regarding the US$50 million intra-government purchase facility of Hercules transportation plane spare parts.
With this purchase system, Sutarto said, the price of Hercules plane spare-parts would be much cheaper than a purchase made by a third-party.
Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono also welcomed the resumption
of the IMET program. However, Sudarsono claimed that he was yet to receive any official information regarding this matter.
According to the Defense Minister, the TNI really needs the resumption of the IMET program, particularly in relation to TNI management, which be compared with other countries. “The opportunity for further education in the USA shall provide our young officers with the opportunity to learn from other countries’ experience,” stated Sudarsono.
He went on to say that he expected the resumption of the IMET program could consolidate professionalism within the TNI and democracy in Indonesia.
In addition, Sudarsono said,” The most important thing for me at the Defense Ministry is our defense management cababilities, including transparency and efficiency in supervising funds for defense purposes.”
The Defense Minister said that he had no idea why the US government will resume the IMET program as from this September. “I think it believes that Indonesian President Yudhoyono will continue TNI reforms,” stated Sudarsono.
Golkar Party member Afifuddin Thaib said that the resumption of the IMET program should not allow Indonesia to be dictated to by the US government.
According to National Awakening Party (PKB) member AS Hikam, the government must carry out efforts so that the US military embargo on the TNI be revoked.
Dimas Adityo/Abdul Manan-Tempo News Room