Webinar on “Shaping more resilient Indonesia-Singapore relations amidst global uncertainties”

In this webinar, Ambassador H.E. Mr Suryo Pratomo shared his perspectives on Indonesia-Singapore relations and elaborated on the future plans that were set in place between the two countries during the Leaders’ Retreat held in Bintan on 25 January 2022.  


Thursday, 17 March 2022 – ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute invited Ambassador H.E. Mr Suryo Pratomo (Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Singapore) to speak in a webinar titled “Shaping more resilient Indonesia-Singapore relations amidst global uncertainties”. Moderated by Dr Hui Yew-Foong (Senior Visiting Fellow and Coordinator of Indonesia Studies Programme, ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute), Ambassador H.E. Mr Suryo Pratomo elaborated on the three treaties signed during the Indonesia-Singapore Leaders’ Retreat held in Bintan this year as well as discussed the possible challenges and opportunities that could emerge between the two countries amidst global uncertainties.

Ambassador H.E. Mr Suryo Pratomo discussed Indonesia-Singapore relations and elaborated on key initiatives that would foster stronger bilateral ties between the two neighbouring countries. Dr Hui Yew-Foong moderated the session. (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)

Ambassador H.E. Mr Suryo Pratomo began his presentation by giving the historical background on the Leaders’ Retreat and described the deliverables derived from this year’s Leaders’ Retreat held in Bintan. Three levels of bilateral cooperation platforms had been established between Indonesia and Singapore. The Leaders’ Retreat was the highest level for bilateral cooperation, followed by ministerial meetings and working groups on specific fields of interest. In particular, a new working group on Energy was established during this year’s Leaders’ Retreat, according to both countries’ commitment to fulfil their climate goals set during COP26 in Glasgow last year.

Ambassador Pratomo elaborated further on the three treaties, first focusing on the finalisation of the Flight Information Region (FIR) treaty, which was initiated in 1995. He elaborated on the historical background and development of this treaty, emphasising that this treaty had been an ongoing point of discussion between the two countries, with talks intensifying from 2020 to 2021 before the final signing of this treaty in 2022. Ambassador Pratomo also described, in detail, the core elements of the FIR, which included the realignment of boundaries between Singapore FIR and Jakarta FIR, the delegation of the air navigation services and lastly, the stationing of personnel at Changi Air Traffic Control. He also highlighted that the FIR agreement aims to serve both countries’ strategic needs.

Ambassador Pratomo continued to elaborate on the Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA), stating that the initial agreement on the military training area (MTA 1 & 2) was established as a means for Singapore to conduct military training in Indonesian territorial waters. This agreement eventually became a package where the Defence Cooperation Agreement and Extradition Treaty were paired with the Agreement on Military Training (IA-MTA) to form the current agreement signed by both Ministers of Defence during the Leaders’ Retreat. This treaty aims to bring about continuous cooperation between Singapore and Indonesia in military training, combatting terrorism, disaster control and management, and intelligence information exchange. Similarly, the signing of the Extradition Treaty would also aid in strengthening cooperation between law enforcement agencies in Singapore and Indonesia. A comprehensive list of extraditable offences was established, and the retroactivity for extraditable offences was also extended from 15 years to 18 years in the new agreement.

That being said, Ambassador Pratomo stated that while treaties were signed during the Leaders’ Retreat, the ratification of these agreements would be a process that required more time. In addition, the FIR agreement would need to be approved by ICAO before its final implementation. Nonetheless, Ambassador Pratomo believed that signing these agreements was a significant milestone for both countries. It would enhance the cooperation between the two countries, generating an environment that allowed economic and strategic benefits for both countries.

The webinar drew an audience of 63 participants from both Singapore and abroad. The panel then discussed a range of topics during the Question-and-Answer segment, which included topics such as the process of finalising the agreements domestically in Indonesia, the benefits of the DCA in terms of strategic cooperation in the South China Sea, the prospects of developing Nongsa Batam as a digital hub, the potential of enhancing Singapore and Indonesia cooperation in the digital and renewable energy sectors, possible investment opportunities for Singapore companies in Indonesia, the impact of COVID-19 on Indonesian migrant workers in Singapore, and lastly, the focus of Indonesia’s foreign policy. This webinar concluded with a closing statement from Ambassador Pratomo. He discussed his plans as Ambassador, highlighting that he would continue to build networks between Singapore and Indonesia to facilitate the flow of investment and cooperation opportunities between the two countries.

Over 60 participants attended the webinar. (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)