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US, Indonesia Expand Military Cooperation Agreement

FILE - An Indonesian soldier cleans up a missile launcher during a military exhibition in Jakarta.

Indonesia and the United States have signed an action plan to expand military cooperation and improve Indonesia's defense readiness.

The signing ceremony at the Ministry of Defense in Jakarta Wednesday was witnessed by the ministry's Secretary General, Lt. Gen. Ediwan Prabowo, and U.S. Deputy Ambassador Kristen Bauer.

After the ceremony, Prabowo said the 2015 action plan would substantially expand the U.S. Defense Institution Reform Initiative (DIRI) Program in Indonesia.

"Today we begin to ... establish a master plan for 2015. The focus of cooperation between the Ministry of Defense and DIRI is not only in one program. The cooperation would involve the directorate general’s defense strategy, defense planning and its defense potential," said Prabawo.

Bauer said defense cooperation with Indonesia is a long-term commitment for the United States.

"Our relationship continues to grow and strengthen. And our defense relationship is a key part of it and it has never been stronger. With over 500 exchanges, joint exercises and other activities last year and more planned for this year, we are very proud to be Indonesia’s top partner in mil to mil engagements," said Bauer.

The U.S. says the DIRI mission is to partner with countries to develop effective, accountable, professional and transparent defense establishments.

The U.S. cut off military ties with Indonesia over human rights concerns in the early 1990s. Full defense relations were restored in 2005.

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Indonesian service.