Chinese threat: Australia warned against technological relations with Indonesia

Australia and its allies should provide intensive technological training to Indonesia to counter China’s influence in the region, experts say.

A new report from the Australian National University’s National Security College says Chinese companies have become the benchmark for cybersecurity in Indonesia.

According to the report, China now provides both large amounts of equipment and training to all levels of society – from government officials to rural students.

“The programs are huge and are provided by big companies like Huawei,” said report co-author Dr. Dirk van der Kley.

“Huawei alone potentially trains tens of thousands of Indonesians each year. This orients current and future Indonesian technology leaders to Chinese technology.

One of the main sticking points in Australia’s relationship with China was the refusal to allow Huawei to roll out Australia’s 5G network over security concerns.

Dr van der Kley said that although Indonesia has “deep animosity” towards China, there has been little pushback for the country to take a dominant position in telecommunications and cyber.

“It’s because wealthy liberal democracies don’t provide the kind of benefits that Indonesia needs or wants,” Dr van der Kley said.

The report calls on the Quad countries – Australia, India, Japan and the United States – to do more to provide technology training to Indonesia.

“Australia, in concert with other Quad countries, should provide a vocational technology training program large enough to genuinely improve Indonesia’s technological capacity and provide alternatives to the technology and training supported by the Chinese state,” said co-author Dr. Benjamin Herscovitch.

“The first step for the new Australian government – and hopefully the Quad – is to provide large-scale, short-term technical training to Indonesia. That’s what they want. We’re currently ceding that ground to China,” Dr. Herscovitch said.

“Major technology companies from the Quad countries should contribute their technology and expertise to an internationally accredited professional program. Australia’s vocational education and training sector should also help develop people-to-people and educational links with Indonesia.

Co-author Dr Gatra Priyandita of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute said Australian technology training could help Indonesia tackle the major problem of cybercrime.

“The most pressing cybersecurity threat to the Indonesian government is cybercrime. Indonesia is one of the most vulnerable countries to cybercrime on Earth,” said Dr Priyandita.

“Regardless of China’s active ICT agenda in the region, serious short-term vocational training in Indonesia is the right thing to do.

“So Australia and the Quad countries should do this regardless of their goal of countering China’s influence. A partnership on digital skills and capacity building in Indonesia would be a win-win situation for all. »

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