The Indo Pacific region is one of the most contested regions in the world right now, at the center stage of two of the largest oceans in the world, the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. With increasing great power competition, this region has a lot of potentials but also a lot of risk. The ASEAN outlook on the Indo Pacific (AoIP) came up with the idea of mitigating that risk and also to explore different potentials, including maritime explorations. ASEAN also wants to engage external partners to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in maritime frontiers. Basically, AoIP is a very important framework that needs to be addressed by larger policymakers and academic communities.
ASEAN Outlook on the Indo Pacific is about finding out new potentials and also to have a more legally binding arrangement in exploring resources and more solid patrols of activities. We know that diplomacy in ASEAN is very mutually inclusive. It requires more dialogue and consultative arrangement to address issues in the region. This is in line with the idea of ASEAN principal objective, which is to reignite trust building within ASEAN and also outside ASEAN. Because we know that ASEAN has a very limited capacity in terms of profiling sanctions or deterrence towards its member. We know that in order for us to be more progressive in the future, we need to engage more partners within the region to be able to fully realize the asset objectives to have a prosper and secure region.
We know that one of the biggest events within the region is the assessions of Timor-Leste. We know that this issue has been a particular headache among all of us in ASEAN. But however, we know that Indonesia particularly has a bittersweet relation with Timor-Leste. We have a historic human right issue with Timor-Leste. Not to mention the separation event that we endured in 1998, which involved the UN. It makes the relationship between Indonesia and Timor-Leste bittersweet. We know that as Timor-Leste was once part of us, now we have to readmit Timor-Leste. After a series of human rights issues, the idea of giving access to Timor-Leste is to pay our historical debt. Questions also involved are we ready for Timor-Leste to become part of ASEAN? We know that Timor-Leste brings to us not only a promise of more united ASEAN. But also, there are apparels of economic baggage, and Singapore has been so outspoken about this (Satria Rizaldi Alchatib, UNISRI).