Indonesia and the US have started construction of a new maritime training center worth $3.5 million at the strategic meeting point of the Malacca Strait and the South China Sea.
The project is in line with Washington’s commitment as Indonesia’s top defense partner. It also aims to improve the capabilities of the Southeast Asian nation in responding to challenges related to security and safety at sea, especially amid growing tension with China over the highly disputed maritime territory.
To be owned and operated by Indonesia’s Maritime Security Agency, the new training center will have classrooms, office space, and a vessel launch ramp that can accommodate up to 50 students and 12 instructors.
“As friends and partners of Indonesia, the United States remains committed to supporting Indonesia’s leading role in advancing regional peace and security by countering domestic and transnational crime,” US Ambassador to Indonesia Sung Kim said.
Kim also emphasized that the US has never failed to provide equipment, support, training, and technical assistance to the maritime security forces of Indonesia since 2014.
Continuing US Help
Researcher at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Gilang Kembara, remarked how the new training facility confirms the US as Indonesia’s most established defense and security partner.
“They have not only provided us with financial assistance, but they also have provided us with substantial assistance, including by building this training center, training the armed forces, and assisting the Bakamla in maritime law enforcement,” she said.
Singaporean researcher Collin Koh further clarified, “I don’t see Jakarta’s intention as anything more than seeking to benefit from such capacity-building assistance from external parties, not least in this case the US.”
According to the US Department of State, Indonesia received nearly $39 million in military education and training funds and $5 million in defense capacity development support from the US last year.