Fiji looks to grow defence links with Indonesia

Fiji is developing its defence links with Indonesia.

Fiji's Defence Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola has invited his Indonesian counterpart General Ryamizard Ryacudu to an official visit to Fiji.

This follows a meeting between the two in Jakarta on Saturday when their two governments reaffirmed development ties and discussed defence co-operation.

The Fiji Times reports that areas of strategic interest, including peacekeeping and counter terrorism, were discussed.

Ratu Inoke indicated that Fiji is keen to pursue technical assistance and capacity-building opportunities in these areas coupled with joint training exercises.

Earlier, Indonesia's Antara news agency reported that General Ryacudu signalled intelligence sharing initiatives with Fiji, and offered an Indonesian-made weaponry system as well.

The system includes arms and ships.

Ratu Inoke said the two sides were committed to improve defense cooperation, and planned to sign a memorandum of understanding related to defense cooperation in the first quarter of 2017.

The FBC reported that Ratu Inoke was in Jakarta last week for the 7th Indonesia Defence Expo.

There, he acknowledged Indonesia's assistance towards the establishment of the Regional Police Academy and other forms of assistance.

He also noted that Fiji and Indonesia have enjoyed over 40 years of bilateral relations that were further strengthened by the Fiji-Indonesia Police Cooperation MOU signed in 2011.