A photograph of a smiling police officer posing with a condemned drugs smuggler has sparked controversy in Australia.

The snap shows death-row inmate Andrew Chan and a senior officer on a plane on his way to an execution centre in Indonesia, where he is sentenced to die by firing squad.

With one a hand on Chan's shoulder and wearing a smile, commissioner Djoko Hari Utomo's looks as though he is posing on holiday.

The presence of masked paramilitary officers around Chan underlines just how incongruous the image looks in the circumstances.

Australian nationals Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are among a group known as the "Bali 9", who have been sentenced to die in Indonesia for drug smuggling.

The photo of the senior police commissioner posing with Chan now looks to be the subject of an official complaint by Australia.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has snubbed calls for clemency from Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Chan and Sukumaran were convicted of trying to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin into Indonesia. Relatives of the men have travelled to the province in Java in the hope their lives will be spared.