43rd ASEAN GKTT: Strengthening Indonesia's Geopolitics Towards a Developed Country

President Joko Widodo takes a photo with the leaders of ASEAN countries after opening the ASEAN-Indopacific Forum 2023 at the Mulia Hotel, Jakarta, Tuesday (5/9/2023)

This firm and unequivocal statement was made by the President of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo when opening the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Jakarta, 5-7 September 2023.

A statement that also marks a warning or an alarm to the world that ASEAN should not get twisted. Remember: ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) has become a key player in global geopolitics and geostrategy.

Thus, the 43rd ASEAN Summit which was attended by 22 countries – consisting of 11 ASEAN countries plus 9 partner countries and Bangladesh as Chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and Cooks Island as Chair of the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) – became the momentum of a roaring dynamic.

This summit emphasized that ASEAN has a huge impact in determining global dynamics, especially in terms of economic, security and diplomatic policies.

The role of ASEAN in a global geopolitical and geostrategic perspective, with a focus on the factors that shape its role also has an impact on the world order.

For more than fifty years, ASEAN has developed into a geopolitical and geostrategic entity that has significant influence in the global arena.

ASEAN’s position in the global arena

ASEAN’s strategic geographical position, between two major world powers, China and the United States, makes it the center of attention in global competition.

ASEAN member countries have important trade routes and control maritime routes that are vital for world trade.

At the same time, ASEAN has become one of the largest economic regions in the world with rapid economic growth.

This makes ASEAN a significant trading partner for various countries in the world, which in turn influences global economic policy.

It is clear that in economic terms, ASEAN has become a significant global economic power. Its participation in international trade agreements has influenced global trade rules and generated substantial economic benefits for its members.

Apart from that, ASEAN has also built strong diplomatic relations with various major world powers and has actively participated in various regional and international forums.

This provides an opportunity for ASEAN to promote the values of peace, stability and cooperation throughout the world.

When ASEAN faces various regional security crises, including border conflicts and tensions between countries, the handling of these security crises is carried out very carefully.

This shows that ASEAN’s ability to mediate conflicts and promote peaceful diplomacy has made it a key player in resolving global security problems.

What is undoubted is that ASEAN has made a major contribution to maintaining stability and security in the Southeast Asian region.

Cooperation in diplomacy, defense policy and counter-terrorism has helped reduce threats to global stability.

ASEAN has played an important role in representing the views and interests of Southeast Asian countries in international forums such as the UN. This has strengthened the region’s role in the world order.

Indonesia’s Role in ASEAN and Global Geopolitics

The 43rd ASEAN Summit, with the key statement of the President of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo, clearly demonstrated the existence of ASEAN and at the same time clarified its important significance for Indonesia in the context of increasing its regional geopolitical role.

In clarifying this significance, Indonesia is increasing its awareness of having a great potential to utilize various strategic aspects, such as active diplomacy, sustainable economic growth, environmental preservation and participation in global issues.

So one important aspect of this summit is to strengthen Indonesia’s role in global geopolitics.

Through active participation in international diplomacy, and membership in international organizations such as the UN and G20, Indonesia plays a role in efforts to resolve global problems, including world peace, poverty alleviation and global health.

Therefore, the 43rd ASEAN Summit provides a platform to strengthen Indonesia’s role in the global order. As well as making Indonesia an influential leader in creating a better future for the Southeast Asia region (and the entire world).

And this must continue to be promoted at the diplomatic level, so with its continued diplomatic efforts, Indonesia can strengthen its image as a regional leader committed to peace and stability.

Since the founding of ASEAN on August 8 1967, Indonesia has been one of the founding countries that played an important role in the development of this organization.

Over the past 43 years, ASEAN continues to be a regional power that promotes economic growth, peace and security in Southeast Asia. And the 43rd Summit marked a significant moment in the organization’s history.

More broadly, in the context of geopolitical events involving developed countries, Indonesia’s role is increasingly prominent. Indonesia has established significant diplomatic relations with developed countries such as the United States, European Union, Japan and China.

By using free-wheeling diplomacy, Indonesia not only ensured that its national interests were recognized, but also succeeded in leveraging economic, security, and technological cooperation with these countries.

At the same time, Indonesia actively participates in various international organizations such as the UN, G20 and APEC.

These things give Indonesia the opportunity to influence global policy and strengthen its position in the global geopolitical order.

By playing an active role in global issues such as climate change, international trade and world peace, Indonesia can improve its image as an influential player in the international arena.

Apart from that, Indonesia also has one of the largest military powers in Southeast Asia. Increasing defense and security capabilities, as well as collaboration with developed countries in terms of regional security, can strengthen Indonesia’s role in maintaining stability and peace in this region.

In the context of economic diplomacy and regional cooperation, Indonesia has great potential to strengthen its position in the arena with developed countries.

This includes cooperation in addressing issues such as renewable energy, high technology and innovation.

Investment in quality education and training is also a key factor in strengthening Indonesia’s position in the arena with developed countries.

Developing competent human resources will increase Indonesia’s ability to compete in an increasingly knowledge-based global economy.

However, it must also be realized that in this complex geopolitical world, change can occur quickly.

Therefore, flexibility and adaptability are the main factors in maintaining and improving Indonesia’s position in relations with countries in the same region as well as developed countries.

(Prof. Dr. Ermaya Suradinata, SH, MH, MS, is the former Director General of Social and Political Affairs of the Indonesian Ministry of Home Affairs, Chancellor of IPDN, and former Governor of Lemhannas RI.)