Brilliant Windy Khairunnisa

Sunan Ampel State Islamic University, Surabaya, Indonesia

Email: [email protected]



President Joko Widodo was viewed as more involved in the economy and infrastructure throughout his term. This is no exception when it comes to developing bilateral relations with Pakistan, which has a long history of excellent connections with Indonesia. This is bolstered by President Joko Widodo's objective of increasing commerce between Indonesia and Pakistan. The purpose of this paper is to examine the bilateral relationship between Indonesia and Pakistan during President Joko Widodo's tenure, particularly in the areas of economy and tourism, using KJ Holsti's foreign policy analysis, which considers the leader's political personality as well as the strategic environment in national circumstances. Qualitative research methods with secondary data are used in this study. The findings of this study, on the other hand, suggest that President Joko Widodo's history as an entrepreneur and the occurrence of financial deficits in the past are the driving forces behind the economic policies implemented. In terms of the strategic environment, bilateral cooperation is being stressed more heavily in order to mitigate the impact of the US-China trade war and to promote transactions and diplomacy between the two nations, similar to what transpired between Pakistan and Indonesia.


Keywords: Bilateral Relations, Indonesia, Joko Widodo, KJ Holsti, Pakistan


Received 1 August 2021, Revised 20 August 2021, Accepted 29 August 2021




Since the Republic of Indonesia gained independence on August 17, 1945, it has begun to establish collaboration with a number of countries. There are 162 nations that have worked with Indonesia thus far, whether bilaterally, regionally, or multilaterally. Indonesia's cooperation is separated into eight regions, one of which is with Pakistan, which is part of the South and Central Asia region. According to (KEMLU, 2021). Diplomatic relations are one type of Indonesia's efforts to achieve its national interests, in which a country is deemed unable to stand alone without the assistance of other nations in achieving their mutual goals (Dwana, 2016). Be it from an economic, social or political point of view.

Indonesia and Pakistan have had a close relationship since the leadership of President Sukarno, where Pakistan was one of the countries that recognized Indonesia's independence until it helped Indonesia by boycotting Dutch aircraft that would transit in Pakistan under the leadership of President Ali Jinnah at the beginning of its independence (Nugroho, 2016). Relations between the two countries were then strengthened again by state leaders after President Sukarno until the time of President Joko Widodo's tenure where he strengthened the relationship between Indonesia and Pakistan which leaned towards bilateral cooperation in the economic field, especially CPO (Ermawati & Saptia, 2013). This is reinforced by the existence of one of the FTAs that Indonesia participated in in the form of IPPTA which is also part of the cooperation between Indonesia and Pakistan in the economic field (Ningsih, Falianty, & Budiarti, 2018). On the other hand, the two nations' friendship is rapidly being extended to tourist cooperation, owing to the two countries' shared Islamic culture. As a result, the presence of economic and tourism cooperation between the two nations is completely a form of achieving the two countries' national interests.

Starting with the presence of bilateral ties between Pakistan and Indonesia, the analytical framework for foreign policy developed by KJ Holsti may be used to investigate the backdrop of the leader's policies. In this example, KJ Holsti defines foreign policy as the result of a country's internal study of its external circumstances before establishing a specific foreign policy (Amaliyah, 2015). As for foreign policy, KJ Holsti describes it as the result of actions and reactions between the two countries, which are related to several main elements in the form of power, action, and the interests of the country itself. On the other hand, the state's external and internal conditions are also fundamental considerations that cause a leader to issue a policy (Syamsiyah, 2015). Accordingly, external or internal economic, political, security or other issues can all contribute to the formation of a country's foreign policy.

With the existence of different internal and external conditions in each country, in the end, it causes differences in issuing foreign policies. In this case, there are certain elements to be able to realize the objectives of foreign policy, such as efforts to maintain the political and territorial integrity of the country, strengthen and accelerate economic and social development, increase individual strength to create foreign policy security, and prevent against the effects of power held by foreign countries where it can harm the state. Where such prevention can be carried out, one of them involves international conditions as a consideration for foreign policy spending (Ahmed, 2020). This took place, because in essence, errors in the formulation of foreign policies might have devastating consequences for bilateral diplomatic ties.

In this regard, using KJ Holsti's analytical framework, this study attempts to explain the presence of bilateral ties between Pakistan and Indonesia, particularly in the economic and tourist areas during President Joko Widodo's tenure. In this situation, however, KJ Holsti's analytical framework, which includes the state leader's political personality as well as the scenario or strategic environment that existed at the time the policy was issued, might be one of the causes of a leader's actions. The leader in this research was President Joko Widodo at the time of issuing a policy on bilateral ties between Indonesia and Pakistan. This is also a novelty in this research, where there have not been found any studies related to the relationship between Indonesia and Pakistan within the framework of KJ Holsti in previous analysis.



This study use qualitative research methodologies based on secondary data to produce comprehensive and in-depth conclusions that can be used to address existing issues. The information is derived from literature reviews and in-depth interviews with experts. The level of analysis is found in individual behavior where President Joko Widodo is the individual determining the policy. On the other hand, the validity of the data was tested through online FGD, triangulation and prolonged time were carried out to test the validity of the data that had been obtained.



1.    Joko Widodo's Political Personality

Prior to becoming Indonesia's leader, Joko Widodo served as mayor of Solo for two years, successfully transforming the city into a tourism destination, before moving on to become governor of DKI Jakarta and then President of Indonesia, where he is presently serving his second term. (Bahri, Gimin, & Erlinda, n.d.). His success in leading the city of Solo became the fundamental thing that brought Joko Widodo to gain success in his position as governor of DKI Jakarta until he succeeded in the presidential election in 2014. In this case, his long experience in politics can be a reference so that he can analyze more deeply the things he must decide to gain power in the Indonesian state. This is then considered to be one of the reasons why the policies he issued are far more focused on the economic sector, because basically, a country can easily achieve progress with an advanced level of economy (Abdullahi, Kamal Tasiu, 2010).

As for his personality background, since childhood, Joko Widodo has lived in a simple family, with the necessities of life that he has obtained from the results of his furniture business that have been successfully exported to several countries. This export movement will eventually be able to expand its network with foreign parties and become accustomed to in-depth interactions with various groups. This is supported by his background where he lives among Javanese people from various backgrounds so as to form his pluralistic personality (Kartinawati, n.d.). On the other hand, this pluralistic personality can also be seen from the choice of diction in the speech that he expresses in public, where the pronunciation of the subject and object is stated with ambiguous diction that seems to unite (Asmara, 2016). With the background of the furniture entrepreneur, Joko Widodo can easily carry out diplomacy in other nations to progress the Indonesian economy, one of which is by conducting bilateral collaboration with other countries, given his history as a furniture entrepreneur. This is aided by the fact that he has a rather broader relationship as a result of the export cooperation. Meanwhile, Joko Widodo is considered to be more focused on bilateral cooperation than the existing multilateral (Madu, 2014).

Furthermore, it gives a pretty diversified living experience while simultaneously improving in terms of high-level education. This may be seen in the case of Joko Widodo, who began his career as a carpenter while still in elementary school and went on to create his own furniture company after graduating from one of Indonesia's best universities. In this situation, Joko Widodo's knowledge in the economic area makes it easier for him to announce policies that are counter-intuitive in the eyes of the community, even if they provide comparable economic advantages. This can be seen from the presence of domestic assets that are left by him to be managed by foreign parties. Instead of allowing foreign parties to take over the administration of domestic assets, what should be done is to replicate the management pattern that must be followed by foreign parties. (Fathun, 2017). This is comparable to the fact that the presence of foreign management can put domestic assets at risk, resulting in significant losses.

On the other hand, in terms of culture and beliefs, Joko Widodo was born from both parents who are Muslim and grew up in Indonesia, where the majority of the people are Muslim. The community environment he occupies is Javanese people from various circles so that it can form a sense of respect for pluralism in himself. The need for high power that exists in him was born from past circumstances where he was in a simple environment to want to advance in terms of the economy, while the economy cannot advance easily without being supported by power (Ahn, 2017); (Putra & Rosyidin, 2019). Thus, under Joko Widodo's presidency, small-scale collaboration, such as bilateral cooperation, has been a key point for him to promote strong connections between the two nations, particularly in the economic area, so that they may easily achieve their national interests.

2.    Pakistan-Indonesia Bilateral Relations

Bilateral ties between Indonesia and Pakistan, as one of the focus themes, were also enhanced during Joko Widodo's leadership, particularly in the fields of economy and tourism. This is because Pakistan is Indonesia's primary exporter of raw materials such as soap, tires, and nuts, as well as its most significant commercial partner, particularly in the CPO industry (Hibatullah & Nashir, 2021). As for the tourism sector, cooperation has begun to be strengthened because of the tourism sector which is quite large in supporting the country's economic income (Zhao & Li, 2018). Thus, strengthening of bilateral cooperation with Pakistan is carried out by Indonesia, especially in the fields of economy and tourism as an effort to realize the existing national interest, which is none other than to improve the national economy. As for the relations between Pakistan and Indonesia, especially in these two fields, Pakistani media can participate in reporting and broadcasting the cooperation (KEMLU, 2020). This is owing to an increase in the use of media by diverse groups, as well as the growth of the globalization and digitalization eras.

In bilateral cooperation in the economic sector, Joko Widodo has issued policies since the beginning of his term in the second term before his inauguration. Where he issued a policy in the form of an expansion of the trade agreement between Indonesia and Pakistan which was originally in the form of IP-PTA to IP-TIGA which was a sign of strengthening trade cooperation as well (Hibatullah & Nashir, 2021). This is being done in order to strengthen the connection between Indonesia and Pakistan, which will benefit the Indonesian economy, which is also being impacted by the continuing trade war between the US and China. The agreement's extension is also part of an attempt to boost Indonesian products' competitiveness in the Pakistani market, which is a topic of frequent discussion between the two nations.

During Joko Widodo's presidency, Indonesia's economy was seen as being increasingly oriented toward China whereas in the Asian Region the same thing happened to Pakistan, which is located in the same region as Indonesia. The ongoing trade war between the United States and China has had a big impact on Indonesia-Pakistan and China due to their regional closeness. Thus, the expansion of the trade agreement made during Joko Widodo's tenure with Pakistan is intended as an effort to stabilize the economy in Indonesia and Pakistan. As for the entry of the Covid-19 pandemic, meetings related to the expansion of the trade agreement will still be held periodically by utilizing digital platforms to avoid delays in their implementation (Kemendag, 2021).

In addition to the export-import route that is encouraged in bilateral cooperation between Indonesia and Pakistan, the two countries are also strengthening cooperation in the tourism sector. This is done because Indonesia, which is predominantly Muslim, and Pakistan, which is an Islamic Republic, both have very interesting historical Islamic places to visit as identifiers for each country (KEMLU, 2019). This is predicted to occur as a result of tourism industry collaboration, which will, in turn, result in a stable economy and an increase in tourist numbers. This global economic situation is also one of the reasons for Joko Widodo's encouragement to stabilize the Indonesian economy, namely by expanding bilateral cooperation with Pakistan. Because he is seen as preferring to do bilateral cooperation rather than multilateral or regional which includes several countries. This can be seen through a shift in priorities from the previous President SBY who prioritized global policies compared to Indonesia under Joko Widodo's position, which prioritized the domestic economy with cooperation in a smaller scope (Madu, 2015).

On the other hand, under the leadership of Joko Widodo, bilateral cooperation between Pakistan and Indonesia focuses on the tourism sector, particularly in expanding tourist visits to historical Islamic tourism sectors that are extensively available in Pakistan and Indonesia. This is examined since the majority of the population in both nations practice Islam, which has parallels in culture and religion. In this situation, the Pakistani media is also a key supporter of the collaboration, since it may aid in the development of Indonesia's priority tourist industry in Pakistan. The cooperation in the tourism sector is also carried out as an effort to restore the state of the Indonesian economy during the Covid-19 pandemic, where the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy places five places in Indonesia as the most prioritized locations to become tourist destinations for tourists, especially internationally (Kemenparekraf, 2021).






Thus, a common thread can be deduced from the findings of this study that the presence of bilateral cooperation between Pakistan and Indonesia, notably in the fields of economics and tourism, under President Joko Widodo's leadership, is compatible with KJ Holsti's analytical framework. This happened as a consequence of President Joko Widodo's business expertise, and countless export transactions might be one of the reasons for the policy's issuance. One of the reasons for the issuance of policies on cooperation in the tourist sector is the similarity of culture and religion practiced by the people of the two countries. On the one hand, the strategic scenario in which Indonesia needs to strengthen its economy, as well as the continuing trade war between the US and China, have aided the policy's issuance. On the other hand, this is done to keep the economies of the two countries steady. However, a continuous thread in the leader's foreign policy may be discovered using KJ Holsti's analytical approach.




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