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Indonesia Urges Australia to Bolster Maritime Security Commitment

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Jakarta (voinews): Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Mahfud MD, has urged Australia to strengthen its commitment to its collaboration with Indonesia on maritime security.

According to a press statement received here on Wednesday, the minister delivered the statement during a discussion on maritime security at the “9th Australia-Indonesia Ministerial Council Meeting (MCM)” on Tuesday.

"The vast seas, aside from being beneficial, also pose risks, threats, and challenges, including in terms of transnational crime that takes place upon the seas, illegal exploitations of natural resources, as well as activities from parties which threaten sovereignty and maritime security," the minister said.

Indonesia is concerned over two main issues linked to regional and domestic maritime security, he added.

Its first concern is the irregular movement of people in Indonesian waters, particularly the entry of Rohingya refugees into Indonesian territory through the seas from 2022 to 2023, he informed.

The issue was also discussed at the “Eighth Bali Process Ministerial Conference” in Adelaide, Australia, in February 2023, where it was stated that such entries could be an indication of human trafficking.

Indonesia’s second concern is illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, the minister said. The activity can threaten the sustainability of marine biodiversity and put fishermen's livelihoods at risk.

It has been strongly suspected that transnational criminal groups are behind the fishing practices.

"I appreciate Indonesia and Australia's agreement on improving collaboration on maritime security, particularly in efforts to maintain and create security stability on a regional scale," Mahfud said.

The two nations have established various bilateral collaborations, which have been manifested through dialogues, forums, and training on maritime security issues using bilateral, regional, and multilateral platforms.

The minister expressed his support for the continuity of the bilateral collaboration in the sector.

"Not just under the coordination of the National Maritime Security Agency, but (also) between Indonesia's Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, navy, and other relevant ministries and institutions on maritime affairs with their each counterparts in Australia," the minister said.

He highlighted the importance of both nations’ commitment to combating IUU fishing under the “Action Plan of Indonesia and Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership for 2020–2024.”

The minister lauded Australia's support for Indonesia at the Bali Process Forum regarding the irregular movement of people, specifically Rohingya refugees.

Indonesia is committed to upholding the burden-sharing and shared responsibility principle, and expects Australia to support it as well, he said.

Mahfud also underlined the need for collaboration between the country of origin, country of transit, and destination country to tackle the irregular migration issue.

At the meeting, Australia was represented by its Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Cyber Security Clare Ellen O’Neil.  (Antaranews)

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