Interpreting Indonesia's "look east" policy: The security dimension of foreign aid

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2 Citations (Scopus)


As Indonesia's economy gradually improves, the government has been actively promoting its horizontal cooperation among developing countries by playing a prominent role as a non-DAC (Development Assistance Committee) provider. Though the country has been receiving aid over the past two decades, it has also been providing to other developing countries in the Pacific region. However, Indonesia's relations with these countries face contention due to it being perceived as "big and aggressive." This is evident in its decision to oppose the independence of Papua. After decades of seeking good relations, Jakarta has opened its Eastern door by creating a closer link with the Pacific countries through the provision of aid. As it moved from ignorance to awareness, Indonesia's approach was aimed at solving domestic problems related to its national integration and territorial integrity in the east, particularly the issue of Papuan independence. The country made use of aid as its primary diplomatic tool in its "Look East" policy. This paper investigates the extent to which this policy has been instrumental in rebuilding, restoring, and improving Indonesia's image among Pacific countries. It argues that the ethnic dimension is one of the critical determinants in diplomatic relations, and ignorance could lead to its failure. Furthermore, it shows that the use of aid has resulted in a constructive impact that has been evident in a decrease in support for Papua separatism in the South Pacific region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2040010
JournalIssues and Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020


  • Diplomacy
  • Identity
  • New donor
  • Pacific countries
  • Papua separatism


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