Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

History of Indonesia: Experiences and lessons for Afghanistan

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History of Indonesia: Experiences and  lessons for Afghanistan

Relationships of Afghanistan and Indonesia have been enhancing during the last three years of National Unity Government (NUG), the visit of president Ghani to Indonesia and that of a team of delegates form High Peace Council of Afghanistan to the country as well as visit of the Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs to Kabul and, eventually, this time visit of Indonesian President to Afghanistan, altogether imply that the political ties of both countries are significantly strengthening and expanding rapidly. After visiting Indonesia both, the president and the High Peace Council of Afghanistan, have always emphasized that the country’s experiences, facilities and cooperation are key to Afghanistan’s  peace creation, political stability and economic development.
Considering the promise of Indonesia for taking part in peace building process of Afghanistan as well as the recent visit of the country’s president to Afghanistan, people in Afghanistan are hopefully waiting to see how Indonesia with its relevant experiencesfacilitate the peace building and sustainably in Afghanistan.
What type of country is Indonesia?
Indonesia,with more than 250 million populations, is located in eastern Asia which is the fourth most populous country in the world and the first most populous countryin the Islamic world. It is said that more than 700 languages are spoken in Indonesia, and numerous tribes and ethnicities practicing six different religions live equally and peacefully in the country. Indonesia’s diversity is spread in more than 17,000 islands and thirty-three provinces. Indonesia is also the top economic power in the South East Asia.
Indonesia is one of the countries that have been attacked several times by colonialism, separatism, and many others. It had been struggling with widespread poverty and corruption. The country has declared its independence in1945, which was finally recognized as independent country in 1949. Having a powerful economy with its ethnic diversity who live peacefullydespite their distinct orientation, as well as itsmoderate ideologies are the key factors which have led the country to a better position among the international communities. According to international evaluating institutes such as the IMF, the World Bank, Goldman Sachs, the Economist and others, Indonesia is ranked as a potential top-ranking economy of the world in the near future.And according to World Bank, by 2025, the country will be among the six emerging economies of the world, which will create half of global economic growth. Another implication to this change is Indonesia’s membership in Group 20 (which has had significant effects beyond its borders). In addition the Group 7 has invited Indonesia –representing Southeast Asia with its economic potential -to cooperate in managing the world economy. According to Goldman Sachs, Indonesian GDP will reach $ 7 trillion in 2050, reaching the seventh rank inthe world. Furthermore the country will be elevated from 14th rank in 2006 to 6th in 2050 based on GDP growth rate, while, its GDP per capita will reach $ 22,395 in 2050. Indonesia’s successes and achievements in creating a moderate society withdifferent ethnic groups living peacefully despite having different languages and religionsportrays an image which illustrate that “ Indonesia is a country with hundreds of subcultures whilein the Middle East there are 30 countries with a single culture”. The religious peacefulness and religious nationalism is very nicely stated in the speeches of Minister of Religious Affairs of the government “We are Indonesians who are accidently Muslims, not just Muslims who are by chance Indonesians”, he said. Providing religious education beyond the cultivation of extremism;tolerating non-Islamic thoughts and beliefs along with the dominant Islamic culture; presenting a unique pattern of religious harmony and saying no to religious warfare, are the lessons that this country has for offering to Islamic world.
Indonesian Lessons for Afghanistan
Indonesia’s recent eras had a lot of similarities with Afghanistan such asthe history of occupation by foreign countries, civil wars, widespread and organized corruption, rich natural resources and widespread poverty, separatism, regional interventions, and so on.
But today, Indonesia is one of the most successful countries in the world and among Islamic countries, which is growing rapidly and becoming a role model.
1. The fight against administrative corruption: OnceIndonesia was one of the most corrupt countries in the world, widespread bribery was prevalent in various parts of the country, however, at the moment the country has succeeded in substantially restoring its global reputation by its achievements in struggling against administrative corruption that achieved a better position in the world ranking for Indonesia. Afghanistan can benefit from experience and lessons learnt of Indonesia in its anti-corruption programs. 2. A successful battle with extremism and terrorism: in Bali thecrimes committed by terrorists, in which 200 people were killed in 2002, is still considered an unforgettable incident. Nevertheless Indonesia had repeatedly witnessed terrorist acts and attacks, though, the success of the country’s anti-terrorism forces –who were also trained by United States counterparts- have effectively secured the 17,000 scattered islands as vast as 5,000,000 km2. And this is a precious experience that security agencies can utilize in Afghanistan’s counter terrorism struggles.
3. Employment and poverty reduction: Indonesia succeeded at struggle against poverty after a series of corrective programs in the second period of Suharto’s rule, which greatly reduced unemployment. For over twenty years, the country had a successful struggle with poverty, and that experience for a country like Afghanistan (with similarities in widespread poverty and extensive unemployment) would be full of positive benefits for poverty reduction and employment generation.
4. Ethno-cultural diversity and National Unity: In Indonesia more than 700 languages are spoken as well asabove 300 different ethnicities live together with six different religions and their government’s motto is “Unity in diversity”. The success of this country in creating such a peaceful life has many lessons for Afghanistan with itsdiversity in ethnicities, languages, and subcultures. 5. Internal conflicts due to foreign interference: Indonesia also has unpleasant experiences of internal conflictsstemming from regional and trans-regional interference. Afghanistan also has a similar experience that has been plaguing the country for more than forty years, now Indonesia can help Afghanistan by sharing its experience of how it has been able to manage the interferences and curbed theinterventions to its internal affairs.
6. Economic Growth: Indonesia has a profound and effective experience in economic growth and has gone through many dooms and blooms since the mid-1990s and ultimately succeeded in achieving a stable and dynamic economy. This country can share its experiences in overcoming economic crises caused by insecurity, foreign intervention, poverty etc. with Afghanistan. 7. Peace and stability: Indonesia has been in conflict with some parts of the country for more than thirty years and eventually managed to achieve a lasting peace. At this time, the country has, even, offered a lasting peace plan for peace and stability of South Asian region. The country is considered to be one of the countries in the world which has valuable experiences in creating peace. Afghanistan is precisely looking for this experience and, thus, has called on the country to help in bring about lasting peace.
Indonesia as a Muslim country, having gone through the similar destiny, of course, has many other things to offer for Afghanistan including experiences in mining, agriculture, education, technical progress, etc.

Zia Danish is the newly emerging writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafghanistan@gmai.com

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