The prominent role of active and retired officers of the Indonesian Military (TNI) has been widely noted, with Lieutenant General Doni Monardo serving as the head of Indonesia’s Covid-19 Taskforce and Army Chief of Staff General Andika Perkasa serving as deputy head of a new COVID-19 handling and national economic recovery committee. This is in addition to the various retired officers occupying positions in the palace and the cabinet.

How has the involvement of the military shaped Indonesia’s Covid-19 response, and has TNI’s role in countering the pandemic altered the balance of civil-military relations? How is President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo likely to manage relations with the military for the remainder of his term, as the retirement of TNI Commander in Chief Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto looms in 2021?

In this week’s Talking Indonesia podcast, Dr Dave McRae discusses these issues with Dr Evan Laksmana, senior researcher in the Department of International Relations at CSIS Indonesia. Dr Laksmana is co-author with Rage Taufika of a recent CSIS Indonesia commentary on the militarisation of Indonesia’s Covid-19 response.

The Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Dave McRae from the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University, Dr Dirk Tomsa from La Trobe University, and Dr Charlotte Setijadi from the Singapore Management University.

Look out for a new Talking Indonesia podcast every fortnight. Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via iTunes or listen via your favourite podcasting app.


Photo by Arnas Padda for Antara.


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