May 27, 2022

Garuda Shield: Indonesia tilting to US against China

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JAKARTA – While Indonesian foreign policy remains on a neutral track, the country’s military is tilting ever more towards the United States and the West with preparations underway for its biggest-ever combined arms exercise next August that for the first time will skirt the South China Sea.

The Indonesia-US Garuda Shield maneuvers, which began in 2009, are being expanded this year to accommodate eight other countries, including Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Britain, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste. 

They will also involve land, sea and air components focused on southern Sumatra and East Kalimantan but with plans for an amphibious landing in the Natuna islands, south of where Chinese Coast Guard and Chinese research vessels breached Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) last year.

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