On Friday, France’s defense minister met with his Indonesian counterpart in Jakarta, praising the two countries’ tight ties following an $8 billion fighter jet contract struck earlier this year.
“A strong strategic closeness is emerging between Indonesia and France,” French Armed Forces Minister Sebastien Lecornu.
In an $8.1 billion contract signed in February, Indonesia ordered 42 Rafale fighter jets from France.
The two countries are also in negotiations to buy two French Scorpene-class attack submarines.
Lecornu met with his colleague Prabowo Subianto as Indonesia prepares to take over the rotating chairmanship of the ASEAN regional bloc.
France needs to improve ties in Southeast Asia “to be able to fight escalation, rearm, and have credible diplomacy,” Lecornu added.
He added that France must remain “politically” engaged in the region, emphasizing Paris’ desire to play a multilateral role in the region.
France reacted angrily last year when Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States announced the AUKUS accord, under which Washington would supply Australia with nuclear-powered submarines instead of a French contract.