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COMMENT | Tucked away in the inner pages of mainstream western media covering the furore over the Australia-UK-US (Aukus) trilateral nuclear submarine deal recently was a report on the response from Indonesia.

Among Asean countries, Indonesia had been the quickest to respond with its Foreign Ministry, noting that “Indonesia is deeply concerned over the continuing arms race and power projection in the region”.

This concern is with good reason. Geographically and strategically, the country is the quintessential Indo-Pacific country.

With a population of 270 million scattered over 17,000 islands straddling the Indian and Pacific Oceans and the South China Sea, it has the most to worry about and lose from any change to the military and security status quo, in particular, any brought about by foreign nations that have little or no legitimate place in the region.

It is not only the timing and manner of the announcement which treated Malaysia, Indonesia and the other countries in the Indo-Pacific as an afterthought to be informed very late in the day following Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement to his country folk and the rest of the world regarding the procurement of nuclear submarines that has caused discomfort and alarm.

It is also the establishment of a new Anglo-centric military pact in the region with the clear intention to encircle, contain and weaken China. The dangers from this new phase of an ideological cold war that also has strong racial undertones are...

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