Badung, Bali (ANTARA) - The military chiefs of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) have agreed to hold joint military drills in the North Natuna Sea, Riau Islands, Chief of National Defense Force Admiral Yudo Margono announced on Wednesday.

This will be the first-ever joint military drills within ASEAN's member states, he added.

"In the near future, we will hold joint military drills in the North Natuna Sea, to be called the ASEAN Solidity Exercise (ENatuna) or Asec01N," Margono stated after the ASEAN Chief of Defense Forces Meeting (ACDFM) in Nusa Dua, Bali.

According to Margono, it has been agreed by 11 military chiefs of ASEAN-- including Timor Leste--to schedule joint military exercises. The drill is to take place in September this year.

He pointed out that the drills will focus on maritime security and rescue (SAR), as well as social services in the Natuna region. The exercises will gather the ASEAN armed forces in the army, navy and air force.

"It is about ASEAN centrality," he stated.

He emphasized that the drills will not involve combat operations training.

By holding the joint military drills, Margono said that he hoped ASEAN will become more centralized and stronger to preserve the stability of the region.

The 20th ASEAN Chief of Defence Forces Meeting in Bali was attended by all military chiefs of ASEAN, except for Myanmar, which was represented by its Defense Attache to Indonesia, Brigadier General Phyo Zaw Soe DA.

ASEAN has excluded Myanmar's ruling generals from attending any regional meetings due to their failure to end violence in the country.

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Translator: Shofi Ayudiana
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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