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The Indonesian War was a conflict of the Cold War-era (non-Communist aligned) that occurred mainly in the southeast Asian and Oceanian nation of Indonesia, as well as former Indonesian territory on the island of New Guinea. It was fought from January 10, 1972 to June 13, 1979 between the forces of the Philippine Empire supported by its Manila Pact allies West Australia and Burma (then-Myanmar) and the Republic of Indonesia, supported by its allies - mainly the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Korea, Australia, and Siam. Unofficially the war began as early as February 1970, namely the result of Philippine expansion into Borneo and heavy skirmishing between Indonesian and Philippine troops.
The Lowlands Incident
The first skirmishes of the war were initiated by a chance encounter in the lowland rain forests of Borneo on February 19, 1970 (what is today the Bentuang Kerimun National Park) between a group of some thirty to forty-odd Indonesian Army personnel on a training exercise - mostly recruits - and a small Imperial recon party sent to scout Indonesian positions and assess their troop strength in the region. As the Philippine party (consisting of around fifteen or sixteen of their 'elite' recon personnel) were crossing a small rain forest clearing to access a mountain trail for a better vantage point, some of the Indonesian trainees sighted them, and thinking the Filipinos were a part of the exercise, opened fire, hitting and immobilizing three of the scouting team with stun rounds. The Imperials, however, returned fire with live rounds, killing five of the recruits and sending the rest scrambling for cover in the dense foliage.
Over the next three to four hours, the Indonesian and Imperial troops engaged in crude guerrilla warfare, most of the casualties were experienced by the relatively inexperienced Indonesians, while the Imperials used their superior training and equipment to virtually ensure they retained their complement. But by mid-afternoon, three fully armed Indonesian Air Force (INDAF) UH-1 'Huey' helicopters arrived to extract wounded and land a heavily armed platoon to drive the Filipinos out. Seeing no other choice, the Imperial party retreated and thus disappeared into the rain forest.
Course of the War
Concluding in the Treaty of Singapore on June 13, 1979, the war yielded an estimated 1,436,440 military casualties, while civilian casualties have been estimated to be as high as 3.6 - 5.2 million, though exact figures are unknown to this day. The war revived flagging American spirits after their defeat in Indochina by the Philippines and helped to establish a part of the current American foreign aid policy. It also ended the final phase of Philippine imperial expansion and at last resulted in tenuous peace between the Empire and much of the western world.