Indonesia suspends military cooperation with Australia after training material insult

Indonesia has suspended military co-operation with Australia following an incident at an Australian army training facility last year that caused Indonesian offence.

Indonesian military spokesman Major General Wuryanto says all forms of military cooperation and training between the two nations have been suspended, including army, navy and air force.

“All forms of co-operation with the Australian military, including joint training, have been temporarily withheld. I hope it can be resolved as soon as possible,” Maj Gen Wuryanto said.

He wouldn’t say what “technicalities” sparked the suspension but local media reports it stemmed from offensive material seen at an Australian military base.

“Maybe that’s one (of the reasons) but the main point is, there are technicalities that must be solved in improving this cooperation relationship,” Major General Wuryanto told AAP on Wednesday.

Indonesian newspaper Kompas said it came after an instructor from Indonesia’s special forces found training materials he thought were disrespectful towards his country and armed forces at an Australian academy during an exchange program.

Defence Minister Marise Payne confirmed that the Indonesian government had raised concerns about some Australian “teaching materials and remarks” at the Perth base, which were reportedly witnessed by an Indonesian there for training.

Marise Payne, Minister for Defence, released a statement this afternoon saying the matter would be investigated. She said the Australian Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, wrote to his Indonesian counterpart, General Gatot Nurmantyo, promising Australia would look into the matter. He said a report into the incident was being finalised.

“Indonesia has informed Australia that defence cooperation would be suspended. As a result, some interaction between the two Defence organisations has been postponed until the matter is resolved. Cooperation in other areas is continuing,” Senator Payne said in her statement.

“Australia is committed to building a strong Defence relationship with Indonesia, including through cooperation in training. We will work with Indonesia to restore full cooperation as soon as possible.”