MOSCOW – The military chiefs of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will hold large-scale joint military drills in the South China Sea, also known as the North Natuna Sea in Indonesia, in September, with 11 military contingents to be involved, Commander of the Indonesian National Armed Forces Yudo Margono said.
“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,” Indonesian news agency Antara quoted Margono as saying after the ASEAN Chief of Defence Forces Meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali on Wednesday.
The Indonesian armed forces commander specified that the drills scheduled to take place in September would focus on maritime security and rescue, social services in the Natuna region, and would involve the ASEAN armed forces in the army, navy and air force.
The drills will not include combat operations training, Margono added.
Timor-Leste is also expected to take part in the exercises, as the country seeks to join the organisation in the near future, the Indonesian military official said.
ASEAN includes Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. The rotating chairmanship of the bloc is taken on by each of its member states for 12 months. In 2023, Indonesia assumed the chairmanship of ASEAN. – Bernama