Indonesia has suspended all military cooperation with Australia reportedly over offensive materials displayed at an Australian military base where its troops were training.
“The suspension is effective immediately as there are "ups and downs in every cooperation between two national forces," Maj. Gen. Wuryanto was quoted as saying by The Guardian today.
The specific reasons for the suspension were not given, while Indonesia's Kompas newspaper reported that the decision was taken after an incident at an Australian Special Air Service Regiment base in Perth. An instructor from the Indonesian Kopassus Special Forces group, engaged in joint training with Australian Special Forces, felt insulted by materials allegedly ridiculing the Indonesian military found at the base. The Kopassus instructor had found "laminated material" at the training facility which he considered to be offensive to the Indonesia's founding principle of Pancasila.
The suspension length is not announced but the move comes just a month before joint Indonesian-Australian joint navy drills. “It was uncertain whether the exercises will proceed in February. The Kopassus unit has been training at the base in Perth for several years.” Australian military officials said.
Bilateral military cooperation has been improving since the 2006 Lombok Treaty, after which both sides committed to defense and counterterrorism cooperation.
However, relationship started deteriorating in 2013, when documents revealed by Edward Snowden indicated that Australia was tapping Indonesia's then-president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's phone conversations.
In addition to that the ties were also strained in 2015 following Indonesia's executions of Australian drug smugglers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, and its criticism of Australia's border protection policy.
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