Australia

Indonesia 'accepts apology' from Australia over military saga

Lieutenant General Angus Campbell shakes hands with General Gatot Nurmantyo in Jakarta Image copyright Indonesia Armed Forces
Image caption Army chiefs from the two nations meet in Jakarta on Wednesday

Indonesia's military chief says Australia has apologised over "offensive" training materials used at an army base in Perth.

General Gatot Nurmantyo accepted the apology from the chief of Australia's army, the Indonesian military said.

Indonesia last month said it had put all defence co-operation on hold, before clarifying the suspension was for one language-training programme.

The nation said the materials referenced several sensitive topics.

They were "soldiers in the past, East Timor, Papuan independence and 'Pancasila'", a reference to Indonesia's founding philosophy, Gen Nurmantyo said last month.

Indonesia announced the apology in a statement after Australian Army chief Angus Campbell met with military leaders in Jakarta on Wednesday.

"General Gatot has accepted the apology, and realised that in the era of global competition right now, unity and friendship are needed for neighbouring countries, without putting aside their differences," the Indonesian military statement said.

The BBC has contacted Australian officials for comment.


What is Pancasila?

  • The official philosophical foundation of the Indonesian state.
  • Consists of two Javanese words, originally from Sanskrit: "panca" meaning five and "sila" meaning principles.
  • The principles are: The one God system (monotheism), just and civilised humanity, the unity of Indonesia, democracy and social justice for all.
  • Ignoring these principles is illegal. For instance, Indonesians must hold a religion because of the first one - being an atheist is illegal in the country.

Indonesia's Security Minister Wiranto, who goes by a single name, said he was glad to see the military leaders "resolve the issue together like a family".

"The little incidents that may occur, they're just individual statements, really," he said.

"We can't let it destabilise the strong relationship between the two countries."

Indonesian President Joko Widodo was due to visit Australia in November but called off the trip after a violent rally in Jakarta.

Mr Widodo is now scheduled to meet Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on 26 February.

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