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To what extent does their location relative to each other affect Australia's relationship with Indonesia?

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Geographic proximity is an important factor in the relationship between Australia and Indonesia.  Their physical locations provide the basis for a relationship, especially in the economic realm.  Countries prefer to trade with partners that are physically close, as it makes the movement of goods easier and cheaper.  Geography is not, however, the sole determinant in the relationship.  In fact, it is a relatively minor consideration relative to the convergence of interests that has often existed.  Physical proximity is an underlying reality, but the history of the relationship could have been considerably worse but for that convergence of interests, especially in the area of national security.  From the Australian perspective, the mutuality of interests was expressed in a recent White Paper issued by that country’s Ministry of Defence:

“Australia benefits from having a strong and cohesive Indonesia as a partner to the north, as Indonesia does from a secure Australia to its...

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