Indonesia`s Defense Ministry to focus on improving infrastructure in Natuna

Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said, when matters escalate over the South China Sea, Indonesia should not remain silent.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Ministry of Defense will give priority to improving infrastructure in Natuna since the island is adjacent to the South China Sea.

"The purchase of aircraft has not been a priority. We will delay the purchase of the primary weapons defense system (Alutsista) in 2016. However, we will allocate funds for improving infrastructure in Natuna," Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu stated on the sidelines of a meeting with the House of Representatives Commission I here on Monday.

Ryacudu noted that countries such as the United States and China were currently fighting over territory in the South China Sea.

He remarked that Indonesia shared good relations with the United States and China.

However, when matters escalate over the South China Sea, Indonesia should not remain silent.

Ryacudu opined that the runway at Natuna cannot be used for warplanes but only for transport aircraft.

In addition, the ports in the region are not in a condition to be used by warships.

"The damaged runway can ruin the engine of a warplane," he remarked.

The lights and radar at the runway will be upgraded. The drones will also be deployed, so that the soldiers will be able to monitor a distance of up to 60 kilometers.

Earlier, Indonesia had decided to increase the number of warships and warplanes to patrol and secure the Natuna waters in view of the South China Sea conflict.

"We will reinforce Natuna by deploying personnel from the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force," Defense Minister Ryacudu said here on Wednesday.

According to the minister, the Alutsista at Natuna should be reinforced since the island is immediately adjacent to the South China Sea.

"The security arrangements must be tightened to avoid any conflict," he remarked.

"Tensions are still ongoing between China and some ASEAN countries (Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines) in the South China Sea," he pointed out.

Enhanced security will ensure safety and offer a sense of security to the people working to develop the economic sectors.

He pointed out that the ministry will coordinate with the military to install the Alutsista in Natuna.

"To secure Natuna, Indonesia will deploy four fighter aircraft, three corvettes, five patrol boats, and drones," he stated.

"The warships and patrol boats should help combat illegal fishing in Natuna waters. We will secure it by all means," he affirmed.

The Indonesian military will also deploy two thousand personnel to guard the waters of Natuna, Riau Islands, according to Defense Minister Ryacudu.

"The number of military personnel will be increased," Ryacudu noted.

The military personnel will be from the Air Forces Special Forces (Paskhas), the Indonesian Marine Corps, and the Armys Raiders.

"Natuna will be protected by a company of the Paskhas along with two companies of the Marine Corps and the Armys Raiders," he remarked.(*)

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