By admin April 18, 2019 05:23

Indonesia Elections & Implications

Indonesia’s president looks to be on course for re-election, according to unofficial results released within hours of polls closing. Joko Widodo has a lead of more than 10% over his rival, the ex-general Prabowo Subianto, in early results. Official results are not expected until May, but the so-called “quick counts” – undertaken by polling companies – have proved correct in previous years.

Indonesia voted in the world’s largest one-day election. More than 192 million people were eligible to cast their ballot to select 20,000 local and national lawmakers, including the president. The presidential race was a re-match of the 2014 contest between Widodo and Subianto, who both made political moves in line with the increased prominence of conservative Islam in the country. Muslim-majority Indonesia is made up of thousands of islands and has more than 260 million people. It is home to the world’s largest Muslim population.

India and Indonesia

  • The relations with Indonesia have always been vibrant, cordial, friendly and dynamic particularly during the last five years.
  • The high-level visits between India and Indonesia have been going up as well.
  • Joko Widodo had visited India twice in 2016 and during the Republic Day celebrations last year when it was the commemorative summit of ASEAN when all ten leaders of ASEAN had attended the Republic Day celebrations.
  • They had also met during the East Asia summit in 2014 soon after the Modi government had come to power.
  • The PM had himself visited Indonesia in 2018 which had further strengthened the relations.
  • In 2018, the joint declaration had used the term Asia Pacific which was later mentioned as Indo Pacific in the declaration signed later during the PM’s visit.
  • India and Indonesia have advanced their relations in political, strategic, economic, security, cultural, defence and commercial fields.
  • The two countries had also signed a memorandum on maritime cooperation and the Indo-pacific.
  • India is also involving and engaging with the Sabang port in the north-west of Indonesia.

Indonesia – brief history

  • Indonesia’s economic crisis of 1998 was brought under control during the successive terms of Prabowo Subianto and Joko Widodo.
  • There are high economic class and low economic class without the existence of the middle class.
  • Indonesia’s geographical location on the Pacific Ring of Fire also makes it face a lot of crisis situations due to natural disasters disrupting the country too often.
  • Conservative Islamists are also rising in the country very fast.
  • Conservative Islamism took a turn in Indonesia after the former deputy governor-general of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama- better known as Ahok, a Christian of Chinese descent was ousted on blasphemy charges and after which the people of Indonesia were clearly polarized.
  • Some people support Prabowo as he comes from a military background while others support Joko Widodo as he belongs to a lower economic class.

Indonesia’s importance in the region

  • Indonesia consists of 14, 700 islands.
  • Indonesia is central to ASEAN and Indo-Pacific.
  • Indonesia is also wary of China’s presence in the South China Sea and the Indo-Pacific.  
  • It also supports India’s presence in the South Andaman Sea to prevent the assertiveness of China.

China and Indonesia

  • Indonesia has very good relations with China even without the presence of the Belt and Road Initiative.
  • But there are a large number of bilateral projects between China and Indonesia.
  • For instance, the Jakarta – Bandung high-speed railway line with approximately an investment of $6 billion, $19 billion hydroelectric projects in Borneo, the second largest island in the world, $1.6 billion hydroelectric projects in Sumatra which are said to damage the ecology.
  • These projects face a lot of problems from the people as
  1. The utility of these projects to Indonesia is not known
  2. The ecological damage caused by the projects is large and hence the projects are not sustainable
  3. The increasing number of Chinese workers in Indonesia for these projects
  • Thus the dependence of Indonesia on China is increasing in the name of investment projects in Indonesia.
  • There are approximately 5-6% of Chinese people present in Indonesia who create a kind of Chinese network to do business in Indonesia which has adversely affected the small and medium businessmen in Indonesia.
  • 70-80% of the goods are of Chinese origin in Indonesia.


  • Indonesia does not support China’s assertiveness in the region.
  • It also takes the support of America to counter China’s influence in the South China Sea.
  • The security of the islands facing the Indian Ocean is taken care of by India by it’s Navy’s presence.


  • India has developed close relations with Joko Widodo in the past and is set to increase to counter China’s presence in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Also, the diversity of India in terms of culture, ethnicity, communities, caste and religion is synchronous with Indonesia’s diversity which can be used to counter the rise of radical Islamism and bring stability, equality and peace in the region.
  • India can invest in many fields in Indonesia where India is at an advanced stage like higher education, agriculture, IT and research.
  • India has a huge trade deficit with Indonesia. India imports 70% of its coal from Indonesia but the investment from Indonesian companies in India is negligible which has to be worked out by both countries.
  • Majority of Muslims of Indonesia adhere to Hindu culture keeping children’s names in Hindu mythological lords.
  • Indonesia could also contribute to Make in India scheme and the defence production sector to balance the trade deficit India has with Indonesia.

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By admin April 18, 2019 05:23