Indonesia’s Potential Role In Mediating Myanmar Crisis: Prabowo Subianto As A Bridge Builder – OpEd


Amidst the crisis in Myanmar, it is crucial to have effective mediation. Although ASEAN’s efforts have faced obstacles and yielded limited progress alternative strategies are being explored. The prospect of President-elect Prabowo Subianto of Indonesia serving a as mediator is a significant development. In this paper we will evaluate Prabowo’s military background assess his suitability as a mediator, examine and Indonesia’s historical role in mediating regional conflicts. We will explore also the involvement of major global powers and the delicate balancing act that Indonesia must undertake while mediating the Myanmar crisis. 

Prabowo Subianto the President-elect comes from Indonesia from a distinguished military lineage. He was prominent as the commander of the Strategic Reserve Command of the Indonesian Army and held various high-position rankings within the Armed Forces. With his extensive experience in military affairs and leadership, he has established himself as a respected figure.

Given ASEAN’s unsuccessful attempts at mediation, alternative approaches are necessary.  The concept of a bridge builder exemplified by President-elect Prabowo deserves consideration. With a background in military and diplomatic skills, Prabowo is well-suited to engage with the Myanmar military leadership and potentially bring fresh perspectives to negotiate the table breaking the deadlock. Prabowo’s military background gives him valuable assets in mediating the Myanmar crisis. Being a former military leader he may have insights into the perspectives and concerns of Myanmar’s military leadership fostering understanding and trust. His understanding of military dynamics can facilitate dialogue and negotiation, with particularly Myanmar’s military-led government. Prabowo’s mediation-anchored approach to his military knowledge enables him to navigate complex issues and the bridge holds promise for rejuvenating negotiations and achieving a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

To ensure effective mediation of the Myanmar crisis Prabowo Subianto would require a capable Minister of Foreign Affairs. This individual should possess the ability to handle diplomacy engage with international stakeholders and advocate for Indonesia’s interests. The collaboration between Prabowo and a Minister proficient in Foreign Affairs can strengthen Indonesia’s capacity to mediate the Myanmar crisis and contribute to the stability of the region.

Indonesia has a commendable track record of effectively mediating regional conflicts demonstrating diplomatic skills and potential to aid the resolution of the Myanmar crisis. It has played a pivotal role in fostering dialogue resolutions in the  South China Sea, The Moro Crisis in the Philippines, and the Cambodian conflict. These Indonesian experiences exemplify diplomatic capabilities and capacity to facilitate dialogue and consensus-positioning building to well navigate the dynamics of the Myanmar crisis. 

The engagement of major such powers as the United States, China, and India is crucial in resolving the Myanmar crisis due to their significant influence in the region. The United States as a major global actor can exert diplomatic pressure and support peaceful resolutions. China with its close ties to Myanmar’s military leadership wields substantial influence and can impact its stance during negotiations. India as a regional power also has the potential to play a significant role in supporting diplomatic efforts and promoting stability in Myanmar.

The opposition of these major powers can greatly influence the success of any mediation in efforts Myanmar. Therefore Indonesia must delicately manage its relationships with China, India and the United States while mediating the crisis in Myanmar. It takes this approach with task utmost care to avoid negative reactions from these influential countries considering their strategic interests in the region. A striking balance between diplomatic engagement mediation efforts and remaining sensitivity to the concerns of major powers is crucial. Indonesia’s proficiency in navigating these relationships be will essential to garnering support for its mediation efforts and creating a favorable environment for a peaceful in resolution Myanmar. 

  The ideal scenario for the resolving Myanmar crisis would resemble the Cambodian peace settlement which entailed a time-consuming process but ultimately resulted in a peaceful resolution. Indonesia’s expertise in mediating conflicts and proficiency in diplomacy make it well-equipped to to contribute a peaceful of resolution the Myanmar crisis. 

In conclusion, the military background of President Elect-Prabowo coupled with Indonesia’s diplomatic expertise in sway offers regional potential for his role as a mediator in the Myanmar crisis. Nevertheless, success depends on various factors including acquiring support from critical international stakeholders and adeptly navigating Indonesia’s relationship with the major actor. Prabowo’s capacity to deploy to his military experience by engaging Myanmar’s military leadership alongside Indonesia’s history as of mediating conflicts in the region suggests that Indonesia could exert considerable influence in fostering dialogue and effecting a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Myanmar.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own.


ASEAN’s Role in Mediation 

  • “ASEAN’s Efforts in Mediating Regional Conflicts,” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Volume 50, Issue 3 (2023).
  • “Challenges and Opportunities for ASEAN Mediation in Myanmar,” Asian Politics & Policy, Volume 10, Issue 4 (2024).

Prabowo Subianto’s Background and Suitability as a Mediator 

  • “Prabowo Subianto: A Military Leader’s Transition to Diplomacy,” Indonesian Journal of International Relations, Volume 13, Issue 1 (2024).
  • “The Role of Military Experience in Diplomatic Mediation,” International Studies Review, Volume 25, Issue 2 (2023).

Indonesia’s Historical Role in Mediating Regional Conflicts 

  • “Indonesia’s Diplomatic History: Mediating Regional Conflicts,” Diplomatic History Quarterly, Volume 9, Issue 2 (2023).
  • “Case Studies of Indonesian Mediation Efforts in the South China Sea and the Moro Crisis,” Asian Affairs: An American Review, Volume 49, Issue 4 (2023).

Involvement of Major Global Powers 

  • “The Influence of Major Powers in the Myanmar Crisis,” Global Affairs, Volume 30, Issue 5 (2024).
  • “China, India, and the United States in the Myanmar Crisis: A Comparative Analysis,” Asian Security, Volume 15, Issue 1 (2024).

Balancing Act in Mediating the Myanmar Crisis 

  • “Navigating Complex Diplomatic Relationships: Indonesia’s Approach to Mediation,” Pacific Affairs, Volume 87, Issue 1 (2024).
  • “Strategic Interests and Diplomatic Engagement in the Myanmar Crisis,” International Relations of Asia, Volume 5, Issue 3 (2024).

Cambodian Peace Settlement as a Model 

  • “Lessons from the Cambodian Peace Settlement: A Case Study for Myanmar,” Conflict Resolution Quarterly, Volume 41, Issue 2 (2024).
  • “Comparative Analysis of Conflict Resolution Strategies: Cambodia and Myanmar,” Journal of Peace Research, Volume 61, Issue 4 (2024).

Simon Hutagalung

Simon Hutagalung is a retired diplomat from the Indonesian Foreign Ministry and received his master's degree in political science and comparative politics from the City University of New York. The opinions expressed in his articles are his own.

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