House Supports Coast Guard Enhancement to Defend Sovereignty
Member of House Commission I on Foreign Affairs Fadli Zon highlights the findings of the Indonesian Coast Guard in the West Maritime Zone revealing offshore activities. Photo: Tasya/rni
Member of the House Commission I on Foreign Affairs, Fadli Zon, highlighted the findings of the Indonesian Coast Guard (Bakamla) in the West Maritime Zone which revealed that Vietnam had built offshore facilities in the North Natuna Sea area. He regretted the fact that the area -- still part of Indonesia's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) -- is being exploited and attempted to be recognized as part of foreign territories, not utilized optimally for the benefit of Indonesian people.
"The area (North Natuna Sea) is what you would call a gray area, although it's actually part of our exclusive economic zone. Some offshore activities and foreign ships have started to operate there, including those belonging to Vietnam and China," explained Zon following a recess period meeting between the House Commission I and the First Secretary of Bakamla Secretary Rear Admiral S. Irawan, Head of the West Maritime Zone of Bakamla, First Admiral Hadi Pranoto, at the West Maritime Zone Bakamla Office, Batam, Riau Islands, Saturday (16/4/2022).
The Gerindra Party politician believes there is a need for strategic measures to defend sovereignty in all of Indonesia's territorial areas. According to him, strengthening the role of Bakamla and collaborating with other marine security guard institutions should be the government's priority. Without such effort, the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia will be at risk. Problems in border areas, according to Zon, are not related merely to exploitation of illegal marine resources, but also other activities such as cross-border drug trafficking to Indonesia.
"Well, I think Bakamla plays a strategic role in collaborating with relevant agencies such as the National Anti-Narcotics Agency in securing our marine areas to make sure drugs never reach Indonesia because they're a threat to our young generation. Drugs are part of asymmetric warfare with great economic value, but which are also harmful to our nation," asserted the Chairperson of the House Committee for Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation (BKSAP).
Fadli revealed that Bakamla's current facilities and infrastructure are inadequate to support its tasks, calling for a much needed budgetary support to optimize its coast guard activities. Some of the points of concern in the meeting was the need for Bakamla to procure advanced equipment, including early detection tools and drones to monitor disputed areas, such as the North Natuna Sea. Moreover, cutting-edge and sophisticated ships would also be required by the agency in defending Indonesia's territorial boundaries and preventing attempts to smuggle goods from overseas.
"The much-needed facilities and infrastructure include early detection device, among other sophisticated equipment. And we are actually in great need of our own satellites. Drones would also be useful to protect our seas, especially in currently-disputed areas, such as in the South China Sea area," concluded the West Java V electoral district legislator. (naps/sf/agl)