Czech footprint in Indonesian politics and arms deals
The Czechoslovak Group (CSG), which financially supported Miloš Zeman in the presidential election, has found itself in the political and commercial waves in connection with the mediation of the Indonesian contract for the purchase of fighter jets from Qatar.
Indonesian authorities have now suspended a contract for the purchase of 12 Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets from the Qatari air force for nearly CZK 18 billion, which was brokered by the export agency Excalibur International, part of the Czechoslovak Group. Indonesian defence ministry officials have cited financial reasons for halting the deal, which was to be completed with the purchase of the old fighters.
The whole case has a political dimension as it comes at a time of a presidential campaign in Indonesia. Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, who is one of the main contenders in the election, has been criticised by his rivals for seeing the purchase of old fighter jets as an unproductive activity and funding inefficient activities. CSG, which has been trying to establish itself in Indonesia in recent years, has sought other deals in the local market.
Czechoslovak Group, founded by businessman Jaroslav Strnad, financially supported Miloš Zeman in the presidential election and was close to his cabinet. The group has also been linked to the business surrounding former Chancellor Vratislav Mynár and other matters in the context of the Castle. It is currently trying to respond to the delay of the Indonesian contract and is looking for other business opportunities.
The presidential campaign in Indonesia and CSG’s presence in the local market together create a complex political and business context that influences the arms group’s next steps in the region.
Photo source: www.pexels.com
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