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PacNet #30A – The US Rebalancing to Asia: Indonesia’s Maritime Dilemma

The Indonesian archipelago straddles a strategic location at the crossroads of two oceans and two continents – the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and the Asian and Australian continents. In between, and connecting the two regions, are three critical maritime chokepoints for global trade: the Straits of Malacca-Singapore, Sunda, and Lombok-Makassar. The Straits of Malacca and Singapore are partly administered by Malaysia and Singapore, while the Sunda and Lombok-Makassar Straits are located within the Indonesian Archipelagic Sea Lanes (ASL). At a glance, these features might seem a geostrategic blessing. Recent developments in the maritime strategic environment, however, could complicate Indonesia’s strategic calculus.