Indonesia and the United States are organizing a two-week joint military exercise described as the largest ever between the two countries.
The Indonesia defense ministry added in a statement that more than 2,100 Indonesian soldiers and 1,500 US soldiers have participated in the “Garuda Shield” exercises, which have been held annually since 2009.
The maneuvers, which began on August 1 and will continue until August 14, are taking place in three locations: Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi. The scenario involves the island’s defense strategy, according to the Indonesian Defense Ministry.
Indonesian Army Chief of Staff Andika Perkasa said the exercises are aimed at improving relations between the two countries and upgrading the skills of their militaries.
“We hope that the Garuda Shield exercises will prepare the future leaders of the Indonesian army who are professional and adhere to international standards,” Perkasa added.
The United States is focused on strengthening its presence in the Asia-Pacific region and working to attract allies as competition with China intensifies. Despite Indonesia’s strong security relations with Washington, it has shown a desire to establish a kind of balance in its relationship with the United States on the one hand, and with China, which is its main economic partner, on the other.