As Indonesia's economy grows, it is increasingly being referred to as a rising middle power and there is mounting speculation that Indonesia might eventually join the ranks of Asia's great powers. Regardless of just how far Indonesia will rise, its government and the will of its people will become increasingly influential in terms of its regional leadership and the values and norms Jakarta espouses. What are the domestic opportunities and constraints that inform Indonesia's rise and how will various domestic contexts affect Indonesia's foreign policy and the values it espouses?
Meanwhile, the image of Indonesia as a more stable and democratic nation has contributed to a significant deepening of security ties with some other nations (such as Australia) and these nations may well grasp the opportunity to continue doing so as Indonesia rises. But how might this be perceived amongst our other Southeast Asian neighbours and how might this affect our relations with them? Within Southeast Asia, what will the rise of a more independent and potentially assertive Indonesia mean for the future of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)? Will it serve to strengthen this body as Indonesia adopts what many regard as its natural leadership role or will it threaten ASEAN's continued viability as a more assertive and independent Indonesia opts increasingly to 'go it alone.' And what will Indonesia's rise mean for the Asian balance of power more generally? Will the Indonesian archipelago, for instance, become a theatre for great power competition? Will a rising Indonesia substantially influence the Asian balance by siding with either the US or China? Or might Jakarta seek to maintain an equidistant position between them, thereby acting as a Southeast Asian 'swing state'?
In this project, Dr Christopher Roberts (Senior Lecturer, National Security College, ANU), Dr Derry Habir (Bakrie University) and Associate Professor Leonard Sebastian (Head, Indonesian Studies Program, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies) explore these questions.