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Indonesia to Deploy Missiles at Key Maritime Choke Points

Our Bureau - : Jul 10, 2024 - : 12:59 am

Indonesia is set to deploy missiles around strategic choke points along its sea lanes, as announced by the Acting Secretary General of the Indonesian Ministry of Defence, Donny Ermawan Taufanto, in Jakarta on Monday, 8th July.

“In the defence area development policy, it is stated about synchronising the level of the Indonesian Armed Forces’ (TNI) strength throughout the Republic of Indonesia. This is focused on developing defence areas at sea by increasing the capabilities of the Indonesian Navy (TNI AL) warships, [and] deploying missiles in strategic straits according to ALKI (Alur Laut Kepulauan Indonesia – Indonesian Archipelagic Sea Lane),” Taufanto said, as quoted by the Indonesian news agency, Antara.

“In order to maintain the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia, especially in the North Natuna Sea, the Ministry of Defence will increase and alert TNI forces in the border areas of the North Natuna Sea. This is done to anticipate all the worst possibilities and maintain harmonious military and non-military relations with neighbouring countries,” he added.

Established in 2002, the Indonesian Archipelagic Sea Lanes are three designated sea routes for foreign vessels and aircraft navigating Indonesian waters. These lanes link the Pacific Ocean in the north to the Indian Ocean in the south. Foreign ships and aircraft must adhere to these specified routes and are prohibited from deviating unless there is a navigational hazard.

The Indonesian government stated that the purpose of these lanes is to facilitate smooth and swift international shipping and flights, provided they follow the guidelines. Additionally, the lanes serve as a regulatory measure to prevent violations by foreign vessels in Indonesian waters.

While specifics on the types of missiles to be deployed at these choke points were not disclosed, Indonesia has shown interest in acquiring shore-based anti-ship missiles in recent years. Talks were held with Ukraine for Neptune missiles between 2020 to 2021, but further talks had to be postponed due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Discussions have also taken place with India for the BrahMos anti-ship missile and with China for its YJ-12E missile, though it remains unclear which option Indonesia will choose. Following the contract signed in January this year to acquire 45 Atmaca anti-ship missiles from Turkiye for the Indonesian Navy’s warships, recent developments suggest that Indonesia may also be interested in the shore-based launcher version of this missile.


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