General Moeldoko, General Brooks, let me say how we pleased I am to be with you today to participate in this Global Peace Operations Initiative Exercise Garuda Canti Dharma
As the world’s largest Muslim majority democracy and host of the Bali Democracy Forum, as the second fastest growing economy in the G-20, and as a leader of ASEAN, Indonesia is exercising an increasingly important leadership role on the world stage.
Indonesia can also be proud that it is SE Asia’s largest provider of troops to global UN peacekeeping operations. Nearly 2000 Indonesian troops are deployed to seven different UN sponsored PKO locations around the world. The Indonesian government has stated that its goal is to deploy 4000 soldiers in support of UN PKO worldwide by the end of 2014. This would represent an important achievement.
Indonesia also has a clear commitment to build its peacekeeping capacity, as exemplified by the construction of the Peacekeeping and Security Center.
The United States is proud to have contributed to this world-class facility through the construction of two of the barracks and a warehouse totaling $7 million, thereby increasing the capacity of the center to concurrently train 1,500 troops.
The participation of a platoon from the Hawaii National Guard and additional U.S. instructors further attest to our commitment to support the Indonesian Peacekeeping Training Center.
The partnership between the U.S. and Indonesia has helped increase the capacity of the Indonesian Armed Forces to support global peacekeeping missions. Prior to commencing GPOI-supported efforts in 2006, Indonesia only had an average of 178 troops deployed on two missions. Indonesia was then ranked 45th out of 108 nations in troop contributions for UN peacekeeping.
Today, Indonesia has 1,783 personnel deployed on UN peacekeeping missions and ranks 19th on the list of top UN troop contributing countries worldwide.
It is important to note that Indonesia’s efforts to build capacity are not centered only on your own forces. The Indonesian government and military are leveraging your global peace keeping experience to help train international partners.
President Yudhoyono will visit later today to recognize the milestones Indonesia is achieving. As the only serving head of state with UN peacekeeping experience, serving as the Chief Military Observer of the United Nation Peacekeeping Force in Bosnia in 1995-96, he has spearheaded all of Indonesia’s improvements in UN peacekeeping and further enhanced the effectiveness of the partnership between TNI and GPOI.
The GARUDA CANTI DHARMA Capstone is the largest international peacekeeping training event this year anywhere in the world and the training you will receive here will prepare you for the multitude of challenges you will encounter as peacekeepers on mission.
Today’s event has brought together an impressive group of 800 soldiers from 23 countries around the world. Together, the Asia-Pacific region contributes 30% of all peacekeepers assigned to UN peacekeeping missions, many of which are represented amongst the ranks of the countries present today.
Let me wish all you a successful exercise and assure you the United States will continue to provide its strong support for your efforts.