Amid ongoing tensions in the South China Sea, the Indonesian Navy will move the headquarters of its naval combat squad to the Natuna islands bordering the disputed waters.
Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Indonesian Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Yudo Margono said the naval combat force (Guspurla) Command Fleet I, which is currently deployed in the capital Jakarta, will be permanently transferred to Natuna.
“In anticipation of something that can happen any time, the Commander of the combat force can directly lead a warship with the deployed task force,” Margono told reporters.
Apart from the Natuna region, he said the Indonesian Navy is also anticipating vulnerabilities at the sea borders, including Malacca Strait, Ambalat Block and Pacific Ocean.
Natuna islands border the South China Sea, most of which is claimed by China despite competing claims from other Southeast Asian nations, including Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia.
In 2019-2020, there have been several escalations between Indonesia and China over violations of territory by a Chinese coastguard in disputed waters around the island claimed by Jakarta. SOVEREIGNPH