"The joint exercise is important to safeguard our national interest," Fahmi noted on Thursday.
Defense diplomacy is meant to safeguard and promote Indonesia's national interests in defense and security, and is vital for addressing issues on related matters, he said.
Defense and security issues need to be addressed promptly to prevent escalation to open conflict, hence defense diplomacy also essentially strengthens economic confidence-building measures (CBMs) and regional stability, Fahmi said.
Military joint exercises are aimed at building trust, reducing fear and misunderstandings, and improving technical ability on defense and security, he added.
"Indonesia expects this joint military exercise to enhance understanding, enrich knowledge, and improve the technical ability of our military, especially the troops involved in the exercise," he stated.
The joint exercise is not meant to arouse any perception that Indonesia is getting closer to the United States, in the context of the South China Sea conflict, instead, it is meant to augment Indonesia's foreign policy principles of free and active participation without aligning with conflicting parties, Fahmi said.
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"(The joint training) would not significantly affect Indonesia-China relations outside the South China Sea issue," he observed.
Since the restoration of Indonesia-China diplomacy, the relations between both countries have become stronger, instead of declining, with Indonesia actively inviting China to cooperate on many aspects, Fahmi noted.
This year's Garuda Shield joint exercise will be the largest exercise, with 2,246 TNI AD troops and 2,282 US Army troops scheduled to take part in it.
TNI AD and the US Army officers will join the exercise in August, 2021. The joint exercise will drill troops in field training, shooting, medical, and flight training.
This year, the joint training will take place on the three training grounds -- Baturaja War Exercise Centre in South Sumatra, Makalisung War Exercise Centre in North Sulawesi, and Amborawang War Exercise Centre in East Kalimantan. (
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