Defence to focus more on humanitarian work: Indonesia minister

Defence to focus more on humanitarian work: Indonesia minister
Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu speaks during the plenary session at the 14th Asia Security Summit, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-La Dialogue 2015 in Singapore on May 30, 2015.

Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said on Wednesday that Indonesia's defence should concentrate more on non-traditional threats, such as terrorism, disaster and disease, instead of the traditional threat of physical attacks by other countries that were rare in today's world of changing politics.

He said that foreign attacks were less likely to happen today because international politics was marked with co-operation and interdependence.

"The absence of war can at least be observed among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations [ASEAN], where they agreed to avoid war when resolving inter-state conflicts in the region since the organisation was created 48 years ago," Ryamizard said at a press briefing at the Defence Ministry.

Therefore, he urged the change in Indonesia's defence paradigm from defence against outside aggressors to focusing on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.

"The most evident threats are disease and disaster," he said.

"I want defence to be not just about protecting the nation from outside attacks. I want defence to be not just about killing. I want our defence to be number one in humanitarian work," he said.

"I want the military to be involved more in humanitarian missions in the future.

"We should be number one in disaster too," he said, adding that the ministry was currently working on ebola prevention.

"Ebola is from tropical countries in Africa. We are also a tropical country. So we have to be ready [to deal with the disease]" Ryamizard said.

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