President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has defended Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto against scathing criticism of the minister’s frequent overseas trips.
During the Defence Ministry’s leaders meeting on Wednesday, Jokowi said that Prabowo’s diplomatic forays to a number of foreign countries recently were forms of diplomacy in relation to bolstering Indonesia’s defence sector.
“Should there be any question regarding the purpose of the minister’s overseas trips, the answer is for no other purpose than to bolster our diplomacy in the defence sphere,” Jokowi said on Thursday
The President noted that Prabowo had also been inspecting alutsista (primary weapons defence systems) the government intended to purchase from other countries.
He said that during the visits, Prabowo – who was Jokowi’s erstwhile rival in last year’s presidential election – had checked whether the weaponry systems were any good or appropriate for Indonesia’s needs.
“He’s been checking every little detail,” Jokowi said, “the people who question [the purpose of Prabowo’s overseas trips] are those who have yet to understand the concept of defence diplomacy.”