Indonesia to import tanks from Germany



Berlin: According to the Financial Times, the sale of Leopard and Marder tanks to Indonesia is not a government-to-government deal but is the result of a special request made to the German company Rheinmetall.
The Indonesian minister of defence Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin said that this weapons deal is worth a 217 million euros and will be financed by credit from abroad. This is not what usually happens. Normally, when Germany sells second-hand military equipment, it is usually a deal between the two governments.

According to the German news agency, DPA, the Indonesian government
hopes that first deliveries will take place before the end of this
year. 'All the political and administrative processes have been completed, and it is now just a question of production,' said Sjafrie.

The deal involves 40 Leopard 2A4 tanks, 63 Leopard 2 Revolution tanks, 10 Leopard security tanks and 50 Marder 1A3 tanks for troop deployment. All the equipment will be supplied by the first quarter of 2014.

Prototypes of each tank were on show at the 'Indo Defence' exhibition in Jakarta earlier this year.

The Leopard 2 Revolution is a Leopard 2A4 model that was developed in the 1980s and was recently modernised by Rheinmetall in accordance with the Main Battle Tank concept. According to a report by DPA on 30 October 2012, the modernisation was undertaken in order to make the tanks are suitable for use in battles.

According to the German NGO Watch Indonesia, the white book of the TNI - the Indonesian army - says nothing about Indonesia facing any threats from abroad that could lead to battles taking place. During the visit to Indonesia of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in July this year, the Indonesian president was quoted as saying: 'There wont be any war in which tanks or helicopters would be used against the Indonesian people and we wont do such a thing'.

Because of the many reports about the human rights violations in the provinces of Papua, the Anti Arms Trade Alliance most members of which are Indonesians, as well as Watch Indonesia in Germany have raised the issue of the possible use of these tanks in battles. During a discussion recently convened by Watch Indonesia yesterday, Markus Haluk, a well-known human rights defender in Papua said that he welcomed the statement made by the German government at the recent meeting of the UN Council on Human Rights in Geneva. The questions and proposals by the German government to the Indonesian government on that occasion were courageous and correct, he said.

In view of the agreement to export these tanks to Indonesia, the position adopted by Germany at the UN meeting is unclear. Markus Haluk is quoted by German TAZ as saying: 'Indonesia may have become more democratic but this is not the case in Papua. If these tanks are exported to Indonesia, Germany will be held responsible.for violations of human rights in Papua if these tanks are used in any battles that occur in Papua. '

Markus Haluk said that it was important for German politicians to visit Papua so as to be able to see for themselves the real situation there.

[Translated by TAPOL]