The fact that Sumatra is rich in natural resources such as oil, gas and coal
is well known. Its position that makes it a southern gateway to the Asian
continent together with its cultural diversity increases its importance for
Indonesia from a geopolitical perspective. On the other hand the role that
Java has been playing within the country is unquestionably instrumental. About
sixty percent of the Indonesian population resides in Java.
Some of the major cities such as Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta and Surabaya, and their metropolises have been the melting pots of virtually all ethnic groups in Indonesia. The growth of these centers will have a major impact on the
socio-cultural development in Java and the surrounding islands especially the
major ones like Sumatra and Bali.
It is quite coincident and fortunate that these three major islands are not
distantly separated. Linking these islands will greatly enhance the overall
performance of the Indonesian community. Not only will it improve the regional
economies but also generate interdependence in almost all aspects for more
than eighty percent of the Indonesian population. In return this new spirit of
co-operation will form a more stable foundation for further smooth development
of the nation. In what follows this linkage will be addressed more closely in
relation to the islands of Sumatra and Java.