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What will Moscow and Jakarta try to hide from the CIA?

Yevgeny Krutikov, Vzgylad/ —  A new cooperation agreement between the Russian and Indonesian intelligence agencies bodes well for both countries. It also suggests that Moscow and Jakarta may have learned from the bad experiences of the 1960s, when the CIA got access to classified information on Soviet arms deliveries to Indonesia.

Russia and Indonesia have signed an agreement on the exchange of intelligence information and enhancing contacts between law enforcement agencies.  “We are interested in the establishment and further development of cooperation in overcoming challenges and threats, primarily in the field of counter-terrorism,” Indonesian President Joko Widodo told reporters after extensive talks with Vladimir Putin in Sochi on May 19.

What specific data from Indonesia interests the Russian intelligence establishment is a matter of debate. Jokowi, however, clearly stated that the countries would cooperate in the fight against terrorism.

Indonesia has the biggest Muslim population in the world and is a constant target of terrorist attacks. In this struggle there is a dearth of information, so Russia is very much interested in such data from Indonesia. The quality, reliability and utility of such information will be appraised on a case-by-case basis by experts, who will compare it with inputs from other sources.

The New York Times Company StoreOddly enough, Indonesia was the first country in the region to sign such an agreement with Russia. Even Vietnam has not yet signed such an agreement with its longstanding ally.

Maintaining neutrality

One of the less obvious reasons behind the signing of this agreement could be Indonesia’s desire to diversify its military and intelligence ties and gradually withdraw from the CIA and the Australian intelligence services.

This aspiration is derived from the principle of neutrality, which is followed by Indonesians in their international policies.

However, in order for this to happen, both Moscow and Indonesia must take into account the bad experience in the 1960s, when the CIA got access to information about the delivery of Soviet arms to Indonesia.

President of Indonesia Dr. Ahmed Soekarno inspecting the Moscow Kremlin in June 1961.

In the 1960s Indonesia, led by then President Soekarno, was involved in several conflicts with its neighbors.

In a relatively short period of time Indonesia evicted the Dutch colonizers from the Western part of the island of New Guinea and then launched ‘Konfrontasi,’ an undeclared war on Malaysia. The conflict ended three years later with Indonesia recognizing the formation of Malaysia.

Soekarno had the military support of the Soviet Union, which was attracted by the Indonesian leader’s socialist leanings. Jakarta received arms worth several billion dollars from the USSR.

It is believed that a decisive factor in the defeat of the Dutch in Western New Guinea was the presence of dozens of Soviet submarines around Papua New Guinea. The Soviet presence blunted the Dutch Navy, whose ships were stuck at the ports.

A few years later, under President Suharto, Portugal was forced to leave East Timor, which became an independent country in 2002. click for more

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