Lessons of Tambora ignored, 200 years on

A giant cloud of ash and steam rises from the Sangeang Api volcano in Indonesia. The volcanic arc to the north of Australia poses the greatest risk to humanity. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Anthony Reid, ANU

Today Australia will commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli landing, which for many Australians symbolises one of the greatest man-made catastrophes. But there’s another anniversary this April that gives cause for reflection: the bicentenary of the eruption on 10 April 1815 of Tambora Mountain in southeastern Indonesia. Read more…

How Indonesia reformed its risky financial sector

Indonesia's Central Bank had warned that the risk of losses due to the currency exchange rate of private and state-owned companies' foreign debts are still high and continue to haunt throughout 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Anwar Nasution, University of Indonesia

Reforms of the financial sector in Indonesia since 1997 have mitigated the key risk factors that caused the economic crisis of 1997. The first of these was structural weaknesses in the financial sector, particularly the banking system. The second was heavy borrowing by both the banking system and the corporate sector from foreign sources. Read more…

Indonesia’s long road to economic stability

Indonesia moved to a floating exchange rate system in 1997 and has been targeting soft inflation since 2005. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Anwar Nasution, University of Indonesia

Indonesia has come a long way since former president Suharto adopted a new economic stabilisation policy in 1996. But the country must take steps to improve infrastructure and enhance data measurement if it is to realise its economic potential. Read more…

Why Indonesia should take a leading role in ASEAN

Indonesian President Joko Widodo listens during the 2nd ASEAN-United States Summit, part of the 25th Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Related Summits at the Myanmar International Convention Center in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, 13 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Pattharapong Rattanasevee, Burapha University

ASEAN would benefit from stronger leadership. But Indonesia, the country best placed to take up that role, appears unwilling.

Indonesia could be the leader that ASEAN needs, but it intentionally refrains from asserting its influence over the association. Read more…

Australia and Indonesia in it for the long haul

Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott walk into a meeting room for a plenary session at the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, 15 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Two and a half years ago, the then Australian prime minister, Julia Gillard, launched a White Paper on Australia in the Asian Century. Despite being electronically burned by the current Australian government, in an act of foolish partisanship, it continues to provide a reference point in Australia’s dealings with its region. Read more…

Overcoming the Australia–Indonesia cultural divide

A painting by Bali Nine ringleader Myuran Sukumaran of Indonesian President Jokowi Widodo with words on the back of the painting 'people can change'. (Photo: AAP).

Author: John McCarthy, AIIA

The probable executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, and Australia’s responses thereto, risk pushing the Australia–Indonesia relationship into another downturn.

Fifteen years ago, Australians assumed that the end of Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor, and the advent of post-Suharto democracy, would presage an era of tranquillity in bilateral relations. Read more…

Development will stop the Natuna Islands becoming a security flashpoint

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping as he arrives for the APEC leaders meeting in Beijing on 11 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Ristian Atriandi Supriyanto, RSIS

Indonesia’s Natuna Islands could become yet another security flashpoint in the South China Sea. The islands’ proximity to the disputed areas in the South China Sea, and isolation from Jakarta, makes it one of Indonesia’s most vulnerable regions. Read more…