Did Indonesia Tip The Balance? Edited to Add Another View

* Edited to add the view of Tim Huxley.

PETALING JAYA: Political scientist Farish A.Noor has opened a can of worms today by claiming that Indonesia had tipped the balance of the military equation by “operationalising” the Yakhont supersonic missile recently.

He claimed the ship-based Yakhont gave Indonesia an offensive capability unlike Vietnam who also have a similar missile but is land-based and therefore, can be considered as a defensive weapon.

He cited concerns of unnamed security analysts that the new arm purchases may sparked off an arms race. When a write of Farish Noor standing gave credence to these issues what are we, layman, going to say about it?

For the last few years, every body and sundry had been claiming that the region was in the midst of an arms race every time, apart from Singapore, buys anything.

Yes, Farish clarified that Indonesia and other regional countries needed transport ships, patrols boats and observation planes and other stuff but his clarion cry about an arms race will be vindicated those who had said it in the past.

I am guessing that more people will call their boats as Patrol Vessels and their planes as interceptors to avoid the tag of proponents of an arms race. Oh, well.

From NST. Read It Here.
“It is in this light that we need to consider Indonesia’s latest testing of its Yakhont anti-ship missile, which was launched in the Indian Ocean recently. The successful test-firing of the Russian-made missile marks a significant development in the military potential of Indonesia.

The anti-ship missile has a range of around 300km and flies at Mach 2.5, more than twice the speed of sound.

Vietnam, likewise, has the same missile capabilities, but its anti-ship missiles are based in land installations, rendering them useful for only defensive operations.

Over the past few years, other countries in Asean have beefed up their anti-ship missile capabilities: Malaysia has introduced underwater-launched anti-ship missiles in the Scorpene submarines.

The concern of some security analysts, however, is that these new arms purchases may inadvertently contribute to an arms race of sorts in Southeast Asia, and thereby decrease, rather than increase, Asean’s role as a peacekeeping arrangement between its member states.”

I am also adding what Tim Huxley is saying about a similar issue. From Defence News.

“Whether or not there is an arms race in Asia is a favorite essay topic for university courses in international relations and security studies. But this is a curiously semantic debate. It is evident that contemporary military developments in Asia closely resemble neither the pre-1914 Anglo-German naval arms race nor the U.S.-Soviet missile race of the 1960s.

However, it also is clear there is a real danger of multiple and wastefully expensive subregional military competitions destabilizing Asia’s security, and that there are no effective regional security institutions to mitigate this threat.”

So do brace for the word ‘arms race” whenever we buy anything especially we are certainly not buying transport ships, patrol boats and observation planes in the near future, although we needed those things more operationally. These words from Farish will be on every one lips in the near future.

— Malaysian Defence

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