Indonesia to start joint maritime patrols this year – Indonesia plans to start implementing coordinated patrols with the Philippines and Malaysia this year as part of efforts to step up maritime defense in regional waters amid the risks of piracy and hostage-taking.
The Indonesian Navy is currently drafting the routes for the joint patrols, which would stretch to the piracy-prone waters of the Sulu Sea, to realize the trilateral maritime agreement signed by the three countries in August. Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said on Tuesday.
"I believe we can start the coordinated patrols this year. I will meet the Malaysian defense minister in the near future [to further discuss the plan]," Ryamizard told journalists.
Aside from drafting the coordinated patrols routes, the Navy is also mulling the safest routes for commercial ships to use in the area, especially those traveling back and forth among the three countries. Safe routes are important in order to prevent any hijacking and hostage-taking taking place again in the future, he added.
The trilateral maritime agreement, signed by the Indonesian, Philippine and Malaysian defense ministers during a ministerial meeting in Bali, is aimed at strengthening regional cooperation to overcome security challenges in the countries’ maritime border areas, which have been beset by threats in recent months. At least nine Indonesians are still being held captive by Philippine militants from the Abu Sayyaf group who have demanded ransoms in exchange for the hostages.***
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Editing: T. Bintang
source: Thejakartapost

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