Indonesia's BRICS Dilemma: Insights from Dr. Marty Natalegawa from the 7th ASEAN Media Forum 2023

Indonesia's BRICS Dilemma: Insights from Dr. Marty Natalegawa from the 7th ASEAN Media Forum 2023

In the world of international relations, the notion of Indonesia joining the BRICS group has been a subject of interest for over a decade. Indonesia has participated in some BRICS meetings, but the concept of official accession to this influential bloc has gained renewed momentum in recent years, with support from global players like China. As Indonesia's decision on BRICS membership looms in early 2024, it is crucial to explore the dynamics and considerations behind this potential move.

Over a decade ago, discussions about Indonesia joining the BRICS first surfaced. However, even back then, the Indonesian government was cautious about its stance. As Dr. Marty Natalegawa, former Foreign Minister of Indonesia, points out, the issue of BRICS membership was viewed through the lens of the G20, where BRICS was gradually becoming more China-led in comparison to the G7. Indonesia wanted to avoid actions that could further divide the G20. To this end, they initiated MIKTA, a forum comprising Mexico, Indonesia, Korea, Turkey, and Australia, countries outside both the G7 and BRICS but part of the G20.

MIKTA's primary aim was not to accentuate divisions but rather to act as bridge builders. Nonetheless, it emerged as a way for these countries to reassess their position concerning BRICS. Indonesia's cautious approach was evident even in its decision to be part of MIKTA.

The Current Scenario

The question of Indonesia's BRICS membership has resurfaced in recent years. In July 2023, Indonesia accepted an invitation to participate in the 2023 BRICS summit. Indonesian President Joko Widodo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and other officials attended the event, although they downplayed ongoing negotiations and media attention surrounding the subject.

Dr. Natalegawa's perspective on the matter is crucial to understanding Indonesia's stance. He highlights that Indonesia's position within the G20 is evolving, and the nation seeks to play a more significant role. Notably, he mentions India's chairmanship of the G20, which includes the admission of the African Union to the grouping. Dr. Natalegawa views this as a highly significant development in global affairs. In an ideal scenario, he envisions Indonesia, as a past G20 chair, initiating ASEAN membership in the G20, followed by a similar approach for the African Union, creating a more unified voice among Asian and African nations in global matters.

However, he acknowledges the need to accept the current reality. Despite the appealing prospect of Indonesia taking on a more prominent role in the G20, the decision to join BRICS is a complex one that requires careful consideration.

The ASEAN Media Forum 2023

This discussion with Dr. Marty Natalegawa took place during the 7th ASEAN Media Forum 2023 in Jakarta on October 31, 2023. At the forum, Dr. Natalegawa offered insights on "ASEAN’s relevance in the global power complex",  emphasizing the significance of ASEAN's role in the global power dynamics.


Akhyari Hananto

I began my career in the banking industry in 1997, and stayed approx 6 years in it. This industry boost his knowledge about the economic condition in Indonesia, both macro and micro, and how to More understand it. My banking career continued in Yogyakarta when I joined in a program funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB),as the coordinator for a program aimed to help improve the quality of learning and teaching process in private universities in Yogyakarta. When the earthquake stroke Yogyakarta, I chose to join an international NGO working in the area of ?disaster response and management, which allows me to help rebuild the city, as well as other disaster-stricken area in Indonesia. I went on to become the coordinator for emergency response in the Asia Pacific region. Then I was assigned for 1 year in Cambodia, as a country coordinator mostly to deliver developmental programs (water and sanitation, education, livelihood). In 2009, he continued his career as a protocol and HR officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Surabaya, and two years later I joined the Political and Economic Section until now, where i have to deal with extensive range of people and government officials, as well as private and government institution troughout eastern Indonesia. I am the founder and Editor-in-Chief in Good News From Indonesia (GNFI), a growing and influential social media movement, and was selected as one of The Most Influential Netizen 2011 by The Marketeers magazine. I also wrote a book on "Fundamentals of Disaster Management in 2007"?, "Good News From Indonesia : Beragam Prestasi Anak Bangsa di dunia"? which was luanched in August 2013, and "Indonesia Bersyukur"? which is launched in Sept 2013. In 2014, 3 books were released in which i was one of the writer; "Indonesia Pelangi Dunia"?, "Indonesia The Untold Stories"? and "Growing! Meretas Jalan Kejayaan" I give lectures to students in lectures nationwide, sharing on full range of issues, from economy, to diplomacy Less
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