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Indonesia Orders Jets from France to Modernize its Air Force

With an aim to modernize its air defence, Indonesia has entered into an agreement with France to buy fighter jets. During an agreement between Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto and French counterpart Florence Parly in the capital Jakarta, Indonesia has signed to buy 42 Rafael fighter jets. The purchase deal, according to French officials, is worth $8.1 billion. 

Initial contract signed between Indonesia and France is for the first six jets. Jakarta is also planning to buy two Scorpene diesel-electric attack submarines.

During the French Defence minister’s visit, the minister announced cooperation between Paris and Jakarta in submarine research and development.

After India, Indonesia becomes the second state in the region to procure fighter jets from France. 

In addition to these deals, the US President Joe Biden has also approved the sale of F-15 advanced fighter jets. Indonesia will also procure engines, other equipment from the US. 

The US State Department released a statement saying, “This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of an important regional partner that is a force for political stability, and economic progress in the Asia-Pacific region.”

“It is vital to US national interests to assist Indonesia in developing and maintaining a strong and effective self-defense capability,” the statement added. 

The US President’s approval comes after the mid-December visit by the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to Jakarta. 

Indonesia plans to buy 36 F-15 Eagle heavyweights from the US. The deal is likely to be worth $13.9 billion.

Indonesia is modernizing its military amid rising tension in the South China Sea. 

Western countries such as the US, UK, France are increasingly focusing on the Indo-Pacific region due to strategic importance.  

While the US, Japan, Australia and India have formed a group called QUAD, the US, UK, Australia announced the AUKUS security pact. These developments in recent months have concerned China. France, too, is warming up to India, Japan and Indonesia. 

The archipelago nation has also ordered military equipment from South Korea and India. It was also negotiating deals with Turkey. 

Given the huge maritime boundary, Indonesia, according to experts, has a small navy and coast guard. 

With the recent geopolitical developments, Jakarta is now rushing to procure weapons and equipment from other countries to revamp its navy and airforce.