Guardian of Stability i

By : rudi_pandjaitan | on 4:16 PM November 30, 2016
Category : Cover Story, GlobeAsia Lists

Armed Forces (TNI) commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo has a tough job of continuing to boost the capacities of his personnel and to ride the political storms currently troubling the country and the wider world. By GlobeAsia

There is no ‘hot’ war to fight these days but Indonesia’s military must always be on alert in facing all kinds of threat, including those which might endanger Indonesia’s stability and unity. Indonesia has much at stake: social cohesiveness, economic growth, investors’ trust and religious tolerance all create a virtuous circle that supports progress and defending them is essential.

At the forefront guarding Indonesia’s stability is Armed Forces (TNI) commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo. He sees division among Indonesians as an imminent threat following a huge protest on November 4 demanding popular Christian Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama be jailed for blasphemy while campaigning for re-election.

Ahok has already been named a suspect by police and will have to face a court. But despite the legal action against the governor, the same group of people is pushing for tougher action against him and insisting on turning out on the streets again, raising questions about the real intent of such demonstrations.

National Police Chief Tito Karnavian has indicated he has information that the protesters could try to occupy the parliament building in what he called “makar” (rebellion) to topple the government.

In a joint press conference with Tito, Gatot said he would not let any movement go ahead which could prevent people from living in peace.  “People need to remain calm. Don’t let a small group of irresponsible people cause unrest. If Pak Tito said there’s an indication of makar, then the military will deal with it too!

“If there is a group of people who want to do jihad using arms, our soldiers will fight them unarmed. My soldiers are also of different faiths and religions, they are also well trained.”

As this magazine was going to print, planned protests for December 2 were to follow Friday prayers on Jakarta’s main thoroughfares of Jl. MH Thamrin and Jl. Jend. Sudirman. Although police have banned rallies that stop the public going around its business, the National Movement to Save Indonesian Ulama Council insisted on going ahead with the plan.

Gatot, born in Tegal, Central Java on March 13, 1960, is a 1982 alumni of the military academy.  He was inaugurated by President Joko Widodo as military commander on July 8, 2015.

The House of Representatives unanimously approved the president’s pick of Gatot as military chief in just minutes, ending in a chorus of ‘yay,’ cheers and applause.


“If there is a group of people who want to do jihad using arms, our soldiers will fight them unarmed. My soldiers are also of different faiths and religions, they are also well trained.”


During a closed-door session, the lawmakers asked Gatot to update military equipment, personnel capability and resources to face expanding challenges and requirements.

Gatot responded that President Jokowi had instructed him to immediately fix the Indonesian weaponry and defense system. In the future Indonesia would only procure new weaponry and defense equipment, he added.

Lectures Gatot is also a prominent lecturer on security issues. Among many lectures he has delivered at campuses across the country, he presented a public lecture on food and energy security at the Pelita Harapan University, or UPH, in Karawaci, Banten.

Gatot said the future challenges for the world involve food and energy security, particularly as population growth goes hand in hand with depletion of limited natural resources.

Indonesia is well-placed to meet the challenges head on. “We have a good demography, local wisdom, land and the sea, all of which we must utilize for the greatest benefit of our people,” he said, touching on the country’s relatively youthful and growing population, currently the fourth largest in the world.

Gatot also delivered a lecture on protecting Indonesia’s unity in diversity on TV. That lecture earned him praise on social media. And in another televised lecture, Gatot elaborated on security threats including the Middle East situation, globalization and the unfavorable conditions that might be created due to competition among the world powers.