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With maritime tensions in the region likely to escalate further, Indonesia must reassess its Indo-Pacific strategy, Ristian Atriandi Supriyanto writes.
When asked to describe their country’s geography, Indonesians like to invoke the term posisi silang or ‘crossroad location’. The term reflects the archipelago’s position straddling two continents – Asia and Australia – and two oceans – the Indian and Pacific. Conceived as early as the 1940s, the term has found new momentum in the narrative of President Joko Widodo’s ‘Global Maritime Fulcrum’ (Poros Maritim Dunia) concept introduced at the time of his election in late 2014.
The term ‘crossroad location’ encapsulates Indonesia’s spatial imagination, or ‘mental map’, of the world. From a purely geographical perspective, the term concisely describes Indonesia’s physical location between the Indian and Pacific oceans. But through a spatial lens, the ‘crossroad location’ term reveals very little about the Indian Ocean’s place in Indonesia’s strategic thinking, especially in comparison to the Pacific.
Read A policy without a strategy by Ristian Atriandi Supriyanto published in Asia & the Pacific Policy Society.