Defense Minister answers Prabowo’s bullet shortage claim: Indonesia can go to war for 1,000 years

Indonesia’s Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu. Photo: Reuters
Indonesia’s Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu. Photo: Reuters

The topic of how long Indonesia could last in a hypothetical war has been a hot one in the country after presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto recently made the claim that Indonesia only has enough bullets to defend itself from a hostile country for three days.

Prabowo said he was quoting Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu, but a quick fact check investigation by the media showed that he may have taken Ryamizard’s statement on the matter out of context. And now, Ryamizard himself has come out to say that Indonesia is not facing a security crisis as Prabowo claimed.

“We can go to war for a long time. We can even go to war for 1,000 years. Understand this, don’t cut up [my words], we can last for 1,000 years in war,” Ryamizard told reporters in his office yesterday, as quoted by Kompas.

Ryamizard explained that Prabowo may have misquoted his statement in the past, claiming that he actually said Indonesia may not last more than three days in a hypothetical war because of a lack of energy reserves, not bullets.

Speaking in front of an audience of his supporters at the Jakarta Convention Center on Monday, Prabowo said that, with the way that Indonesia is being governed, we can’t afford to be optimistic that the country will last more than a decade. He also said that Indonesia does not have a strong military.

“The current defense minister even said that, in a war, Indonesia will only last for three days because we only have enough bullets to last three days. This is not us (Prabowo’s campaign) who’s saying this, but the current government,” he said.

Prabowo, the only challenger to President Joko Widodo in April’s presidential election, has seen his campaign beset with major PR setbacks, financial difficulties and lagging poll numbers since officially announcing his candidacy (the latest polls have him behind by just over 20 points).

Prabowo and Jokowi are set to go head-to-head in the first of five presidential debates on tonight. Indonesia is going to the polls on April 17, 2019.

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