One of the most formidable forces of the Indonesian Armed forces is the Indonesian Army or Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Darat in Indonesian. The Indonesian Army holds the most number of personnel in its ranks when compared to the Indonesian Navy or the Indonesian Air force. A total of over 233,000 regular personnel are currently serving the Indonesian Army which is also referred as TNI-AD. The motto of the Indonesian Army is in Sanskrit literature “Kartika Eka Paksi”, which simply means Unmatchable Bird with Noble Goals. The Indonesian Army was formed during the Indonesian National Revolution, when it undertook a guerrilla war along with informal militia. As a result of this, and the need to maintain internal security, the Army has been organized along territorial lines, aimed at defeating internal enemies of the state and potential external invaders. The Indonesian Army came into existence in 1945 and has been embroiled in several operations involving alien forces such as the internalization of Western New Guinea, the Indonesia-Malaysia face-off, and the appropriation of East Timor, in addition to the internal cognitive operations in Aceh and Maluku. Like the Indonesian armed services at large, it has been encumbered infinite human rights intrusions, particularly in West New Guinea, East Timor and Aceh.
History of Indonesian Army
The Indonesian Army’s history began in 1945 when the Tentara Keamanan Rakyat (TKR) or “Civil Security Forces” functioned as paramilitary unit and police force. Indonesian patriotism and militarism embarked on to acquiring its momentum and backing in Second World War during Japanese taking possession of Indonesia. To acquire patronage from Indonesian people in their war against Western Allied military group, Japan started to promote and support Indonesian nationalistic movements by offering Indonesian youth with militaristic trainings and artilleries. The Nipponese armed forces trainings for Indonesian youth primitively was intended to rally the localized support for the crumbling might of Japanese Empire, but later on it became the substantial resource for Indonesia during Indonesian National Revolution in 1945 to 1949, and also lead to the establishment of Indonesian national armed force in 1945. The Indonesian armed forces have encountered important action since their formation in 1945.
TNI was conceived due to the tenacious struggle of Republic of Indonesia as a whole and particularly the struggle of the military machine to capture, hold back, and maintain the independence, reign, territorial reserve unity and State integrity of the Indonesia which demonstrates the soulfulness, disembodied spirit, purpose and devotedness of the INDONESIAN ground forces as the people’s army, the regular army of warriors, the internal army, and a professional people’s ground forces. The people’s Army soldiers are represented by the general public itself and these people battle against the armed encroachers to take over and assert independency.
Initially, The Indonesian Army began as BKR (Badan Keamanan Rakjat – People’s Security Corps), which was conceived in the third PPKI meeting held on 29th August 1945; this was a section in which citizens go to war in the military force to maintain security undamaged across various regions of independent Indonesia. It was to a great deal a civilian defense force instead of an army. This conclusion was arrived at to induce the allied forces not to invade Republic of Indonesia with its full force. Since showdowns had become penetrative and uncongenial between Republic of Indonesia and the Allied forces, the People’s Security Corps was embarked on to validate, connect, and coordinate the shattered pockets of sovereign troopers across Indonesia, naturally also to contribute a professional regular army approach, to compete with the Netherlands and the Allied force invaders. In 1947, TRI (Tentara Rakjat Indonesia – Indonesian People Army) was formed, to once again professionalize the ground forces to cope with the encroachers, and this force was termed as ‘Tentara Rakjat’ (People’s Army), which signified that it would be clear to all levels of the occupants of Republic of Indonesia, and, to legitimatize conscription bills of exchange (Mobilisasi Rakjat – People’s Mobilization). In the year 1949 then, TRI modified its name to TNI AD.
From fifties to sixties Indonesia scrambled to preserve its oneness versus local insurgences and independent crusades in a few of its states. From 1948 to 1962 TNI AD was employed by TNI for local war in West Java, Aceh, and South Sulawesi versus Darul Islam / Tentara Islamism Indonesia (DI/TII), an activist movement trained to install a Muslim state in Republic of Indonesia. Followed by the revolt of Republic of South Maluku, the PRRI/ Permesta insurrection is crucial in Indonesian armed forces chronicle, as it was directed by army officers in Sumatra and Sulawesi between 1955 and 1961. From 1961 to 1963, TNI directed the Indonesian Army to get engaged in the armed forces campaign to incorporate Western Papua into Republic of Indonesia, the campaign was addressed against The Netherlands New Guinea. From 1962 to 1965 TNI AD campaigned in the Indonesia-Malaysia encounter. The Indonesian killings of 1965–1966 straightaway affected them; the military under Lt. General Suharto was crusading against the Indonesian Communist with the assistance of the Western axis personnel. The emanation of General Suharto to the superpower as the new Indonesian president had boosted the purpose of military within Indonesian politics. During the New Order epoch, Indonesian armed forces savored certain exclusive rights and carried out an important role in Indonesian politics. The military participation in Indonesian politics was articulated in Dwifungsi (Dual function) philosophy of Indonesian Armed Force. Also during the New Order regimen the “Tentara Nasional Indonesia” (Indonesian National Army/TNI) converted its name to “Angkatan Bersenjata Republik Indonesia” (Republic of Indonesia Armed Forces/ABRI) which also incorporated POLRI (Indonesian National Police).
In 1975 the Indonesian encroachment of East Timor occurred and a year afterwards the insurgence in Aceh began, which took place on and off from 1976 to 2005. From seventies to nineties the Indonesian armed services functioned heavily to hold back and belt down the armed insurgency and independent movements in disturbed states of Aceh and East Timor. In 1992 the Santa Cruz Massacre fell out in East Timor, which damaged the persona of Indonesian military internationally. This incident resulted in the United States Government to break up its IMET financial support and connection to Indonesian military and also banished arm equipments sales to Republic of Indonesia.
By the beginning of 1992, The Women’s Army Corps was started as a wing of the Indonesian Army with the main objective of working in places and in situations that needed more feminine disposition. To be more specific, women were allotted to take part in administrative work, teaching English language and working to amend wellness and social circumstances of armed services members and their families. After the Cold warfare ceased the Indonesian Army got down to participate in United Nations peacekeeping deputations. These were normally called ‘Garuda’ deployments. The first deployment of the Indonesian Army was to the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia, rapidly followed by a deployment as a division of the United Nations Protection military unit in Bosnia Herzegovina. Indonesian military personnel were also deployed to both the UN Operation in Somalia I and the United Nations Operation in Somalia II.
After the fall of Suharto government in 1998, the republican and civilian movement raised protests against the acute armed services purpose and engagements in Indonesian politics. It was due to this agitation that Post-Suharto, the Indonesian armed forces had gone through certain reclamations, such as the dissolving of Dwifungsi doctrine and the terminations of military operated business. The reformation as well required the law enforcement in basic civilian society, which queried the military position of Indonesian police under the military machine corps umbrella. These reformations lead to the detachment of Police force from the military. In 2000, the Indonesian National Police formally found its independence and at present is a separate force and has no links to the military. The formal name of Indonesian military as well altered from “Angkatan Bersenjata Republik Indonesia” (ABRI) back to “Tentara Nasional Indonesia” (TNI).
Present of Indonesian Army
The present role of the Indonesian TNI AD is to act as a tool of defense for the country through its ground forces and should be able to exercise its duties as per the State’s policies and regulations that is also dependent on the political decisions taken from time to time. The Indonesian Army must be an antidote that will be able to fight any form of military threats and armed personnel threats that happen to the country either from internal forces or from the external forces. The Indonesian Army is always fully geared up to fight against the evil forces that try to kindle the sovereignty, safety as well as the territorial integrity of Indonesia. The Indonesian Army must be able to restore peace and security in the ground if the peace of the country is disturbed by some security chaos that takes place any time.
General Pramono Edhie Wibowo is the Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Army and he has assumed office as lately as June 30th 2011. At present there are about 12 military commands that fall under the Indonesian Army and the Chief of the Staff is in total in charge of the entire operations of the military activities in the country. The 12 military commands are: Kodam Iskandar Muda, supervising Aceh state as part of the Aceh specific self-reliance law, Kodam I/Bukit Barisan, overseeing northerly Sumatra states of North Sumatra, West Sumatra and Riau Islands , Kodam II/Sriwijaya, managing south provinces on Sumatra island of Jambi, Bengkulu, Bangka Belitung, and Lampung, Kodam III/Siliwangi, supervising West Java and Banten provinces, Kodam Jaya, supervising the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta as well as 3 neighborhoods outside the capital of Indonesia namely Bekasi and Depok which in reality in West Java state and Tangerang which is in Banten province, Kodam III/Siliwangi, looking after West Java and Banten provinces, Kodam IV/Diponegoro, supervising Central Java and nearby provinces, Kodam V/Brawijaya, overseeing East Java province. Kodam VI/Tanjungpura, overseeing all provinces on Kalimantan island, dam VII/Wirabuana, overseeing all provinces on Sulawesi island, Kodam IX/Udayana, superintending provinces of Bali, East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara., Kodam XVI/Pattimura, managing Maluku and North Maluku states and Kodam XVII/Cendrawasih, overseeing West New Guinea and New Guinea provinces. The erstwhile Indonesian state of East Timor was likewise under the legal power of KodaTm IX/Udayana. The Operational Commands of the Indonesian Army comprised of Special Forces Command (Kopassus), Army Strategic Reserve Command (Kostrad) and Army Aviation Command.
The smaller weapons in the possession of the Indonesian Army personnel ranged from semi automatic pistol, to assault rifle, to sniper rifle to light and heavy machine gun. The semi automatic pistols that are there in the possession of the Indonesian army include the 9 x 19 mm Pindad P1/P2 from Indonesia, United States’ Colt M1911 and SIG Sauer P226 from Switzerland. The AK-47 from Soviet Union, home made Pindad SS1 and Pindad SS2 and M16 from United States are the Assault rifles available at the disposal of TNI AD. The Sniper rifles used by the Indonesian Army are also home made and they include Pindad SPR1 and SPR 3. The other weaponry that are adorning the weapons rooms of the Indonesian Army are: submachine gun Pindad PM2 and German MP5 series, light machine gun Pindad SM3, Pindad SPR-2-anti material rifle, general purpose machine gun Pindad SM2 and heavy machine gun Pindad SMB-QCB.
The under barrel grenade launcher made in Indonesia called Pinbad SPG-1, shoulder fired missile from Yugoslavia named M80 rocket launcher and single shot grenade launcher from United States of America called M79 are the grenades that are owned by the Indonesian Army. The TNI AD also possesses 300 French AMX-13 light tanks and 85 FV101 Scorpion 90 light tanks manufactured by Great Britain in its armory. The aircrafts that the Indonesian Army has include: Aero Commander utility transport, Bell 47 and UH-1 Iroquois utility helicopters from U.S.A; tactical transport aircrafts CASA C-2112 Aviocar from Spain and U.S Douglas DC-3; attack helicopters Mil Mi-35 Hind and Mil Mi-17 Hip- H from Russia etc. FV 601 Saladin and Ferret from U.K, U.S. Cadillac Gage Scout and Gage Commando, France’s VBL, Russia’s BTR-40 and Indonesia’s very own P2 Komando are the armored cars that the Indonesian Army possesses.
Indonesian Army Future
There is a lot of up gradation and procurement of new artilleries and aircrafts in the pipeline for the Indonesian Army. The Government is contemplating of making the Indonesian Army, its largest force among all the three armed forces, an important military entity in Asia. Hence, emphasis is given to the purchase and procurement of various technologically advanced military gadgets and aircrafts to adorn the various command bases of the Indonesian Army. Military leaders have expressed openly their wish to metamorphose the military into a professional, international security force, rendering domestic support to civilian security forces as and when necessary.
There are reports that the Indonesian government is contemplating on purchasing a minimum of six new F-16 fighter jets from the United States. The Indonesian as well a the South Korean governments are also contemplating on a joint venture to produce jet fighter planes in their backyards for their military uses and the project is termed as the KFX project. A joint squad constituting of military experts from both countries will be formed. This squad will be asked to device five prototypes of the aircraft before the year 2020. After attaining the break even point mark of two hundred units, the aircraft would be set up for mass output. Military expert from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences are of the opinion that the project offers Republic of Indonesia a rare fortune to build up its defense industry.
There is also about 20% increase in the budget allocation from the government’s side for the development of the Indonesian armed forces with the maximum fund to be allotted to the land forces or the Indonesian Army. With the coming of the Anoa armored personnel carrier, the Indonesian Army have changed state of one light infantry battalion into a motorized Infantry battalion and plan to create another two mechanized infantry battalions is in the pipeline. Before this, armored vehicles were concentrated on the so called cavalry battalions of which every territorial command had one, whilst the regular infantry was made mobile by unarmored motor trucks. Therefore, in the emerging days, these Anoa-equipped motorized infantry battalions would be identical to Singapore’s Terrex-equipped motorized infantry battalions.
The Indonesian Army is committed to maintaining world peace and will be supporting in the operations of the United Nations in the future as well. A budget of $ 7.5 million has been allocated by the Indonesian government on the military spending for the year 2012. There is no doubt that with the procurement of latest air crafts and missiles, the Indonesian Air force will slowly but surely creep up the ladder to be one of the leading technically sound land forces in the whole of Asia.