"We have been planning the construction since September 2015, starting with a policy issued by the defense minister and then its implementation by the commander of the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI)," he stated here on Friday.
Following the instruction of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) to safeguard national sovereignty and enforce the law in Natuna Islands, TNI General Gatot Nurmantyo explained that the government will build several military bases in the region and also extend the runway of Ranai Air Base.
"We need bases to house fighter aircraft along with ground support equipment for the Militarys air fleet," Gen. Gatot remarked on Monday (June 27).
According to Gatot, the government should build a pier that can be used by several Indonesian military ships to safeguard the nations waters as well as set up a radar station to monitor the border areas.
Natuna Islands have become a strategic region as they are located directly adjacent to Malaysia, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
Global shipping lanes pass through Natuna and its surrounding areas, especially for ships sailing to Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea.
Developing Natuna is a necessity and also a top priority of the Indonesian government as its borders serve as the gateway to the country.
In addition, the government has implemented a program to transform Indonesia into a global maritime axis.