Global Maritime Fulcrum and its Role in the Indonesian Foreign Policy

By: Yuni Suryati.

Since his inauguration in October 2014, President Joko Widodo remarks to public, both domestic and international, a vision of his signature maritime-axis doctrine that will define his administration for the next five years. Under his presidential, the government has released a maritime doctrine that will define policies and envisions transforming the nation into a global maritime fulcrum (GMF).

Actually, what is so special about this Global Maritime Fulcrum and what is important for Indonesia, as well as how this can affected Indonesia at the international level?

The uniqueness vision of Presiden Joko Widodo that is different from the previous government raises great enthusiasm from all over the world. As a country which located in the path of world trade with a large population and economy continue to grow, ensuring the peaceful situation in Indonesia is very important for regional stability and economic development.

GMF concept is empowering Indonesia as a maritime country which are strong and prosperous through rediscovering of the Indonesian identity as a maritime nation. The concept of the GMF also will protect Indonesian maritime resources and its potentials for the prosperity of the nation. Indonesia will also implement maritime diplomacy in their foreign policy. Therefore, we could understand, that the GMF will include maritime development processes and practices in various aspects, such as the political, socio – cultural, defense, infrastructure, and economic sectors.

Through the GMF, President Joko Widodo mandated his foreign policy priorities under three pillars, which are: maintaining Indonesian sovereignty, enhancing the protection of Indonesian citizens abroad, and intensifying economic diplomacy. These priorities are conducive to the ‘people-centered’ and ‘results-driven’ restructuring of foreign policy.

The global maritime fulcrum includes five pillars: reviving Indonesia’s maritime culture as a basis of national identity; developing the fisheries industry and food security; boosting Indonesia’s maritime economy; using maritime diplomacy to mitigate security concerns; and protecting Indonesia’s sovereignty by bolstering maritime defenses.

President Joko Widodo strongly believes the future of Indonesian prosperity rests on the revival of its maritime culture, and Indonesia’s ability to manage challenges and seize opportunities presented by its unique geography. Addressing the integration challenges presented by Indonesia’s geography comprising 17 000 islands is his principal mission. He seeks to transform this burden into an economic asset by taking advantage of Indonesia as a nexus between the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

At present, the Indonesian economy suffers from weak integration due to poor maritime infrastructure and the high costs of transporting goods between islands. At the APEC Summit in 2014, President Joko Widodo urged countries to invest in Indonesian infrastructures, especially to build 24 sea ports and deep seaports.

Furthermore, an underfunded navy and poor port infrastructure have resulted in widespread piracy, unpatrolled people smuggling, and rampant illegal fishing. President Joko Widodo sent a clear message that Indonesia would no longer tolerate violations of its territorial integrity by sinking hundreds of  illegal fishing boats. Stamping out illegal fishing will lead to the elimination of broader non-traditional security challenges such as human trafficking, people smuggling, and drugs trafficking.




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