Indonesia Navy has started building Marine Combat Force of the First Fleet Command Headquarter in Natuna Island, scene of earlier showdowns with China. Air Chief Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto, chief of the Indonesian Armed Forces, laid the cornerstone for the construction on Tuesday. The command headquarters, which will be part of the Combat Operations Executive Command in western Indonesia, will also function as an Integrated Marine Security Command Post.
The Chief of the Indonesian National Armed Forces inaugurated Indonesian submarine (KRI) Alugoro-405 at the Selat Lampa Pier. He also witnessed the vaccination of 558 military and police personnel tasked with guarding the Natuna Islands and waters. At the inauguration ceremony, the chief was accompanied by the Indonesian National Police chief, General Listyo Sigit Prabowo, and Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Navy, Admiral Yudo Margono.
The Indonesian has raised combat alert for its forces stationed in the Natuna archipelago – in the south part of the disputed South China Sea – in response to Chinese vessels trespassing into Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone, or the EEZ. China claims nearly the whole of the South China Sea, as reflected in its “nine-dash line”, while the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan claim some parts of the resource-rich ocean territory.
Natuna is an archipelago consisting of 272 islands located between the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan. However, administratively, it is a district under Riau Islands Province. Indonesian Armed Forces is increasing its forces on the island – deploying F-16 fighter, Apache helicopters and sending another battalion here in 2015. The presence of the naval base and combat command will increase defense and security in the disputed Natuna waters in the South China Sea.