22 February 2018
The Indonesian equivalent for the word “Motherland” is “Tanah Air” or literally “Land-Water”. This signifies that the islands and waters comprising the Nusantara – the Indonesian archipelago — make up one unified and inseparable entity. Starting from the Djuanda Declaration of 1957 which enunciated Indonesia’s “Wawasan Nusantara” or Archipelagic Outlook, Indonesia took a leading role in the international acceptance of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982 which recognises Indonesia’s status as an archipelagic state.
Nevertheless, throughout most of the New Order period (1966-1998) the Indonesian government paid scant attention to the country’s maritime development. The priorities of the Suharto government were predominantly land-based and focused on the densely populated islands in the western part of Indonesia. While the limited financial resources to develop a strong navy and other maritime capacity was a major constraint, the real impediment to the realisation of Wawasan Nusantara was the army’s then stranglehold on politics.
… Dewi Fortuna Anwar is Distinguished Visiting Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. A Research Professor at the Centre for Political Studies-Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), she straddles the world of academia, political activism and government, having also served previously in the State Secretariat during the Habibie Presidency and subsequently in senior advisory positions to two Indonesian vice-presidents.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 26/02/2018