JAKARTA-(IDB) : President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has canceled a planned visit to the 2014 Multilateral Naval Exercise Komodo, which is to be held in waters around Batam and the Riau Islands, starting on March 29.
Indonesian Navy Western Fleet Comand chief spokesman Lt. Col. Agus Cahyono told The Jakarta Post on Thursday that Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Minister Djoko Suyanto would attend in Yudhoyono’s absence.
“We do not know the reason, the President is the President,” Agus said.
He added that despite the President’s presence, the exercise would go ahead as planned and some of the participants had been arriving in Batam.
The Chinese Navy’s landing platform dock, Changbai Shan, with 420 personnel, has anchored in Batam waters as well as the Royal Brunei Navy’s offshore patrol vessel KDB Darulehsan and the Philippine Navy’s corvette BRP Ramon Alcaraz, with 120 personnel each.
The Indonesian Navy will deploy 18 warships in the exercise.
“We will conduct a simulation where the Natuna and Anambas Islands are stricken by natural disasters,” Agus said.
“Each navy will coordinate on the integrated handling of the disasters.”
Agus said such an exercise was the first of its kind to take lessons from the 2004 Aceh tsunami, when the intentions of many countries to help did not consist of good coordination. He added that the exercise would be held every two years.
“The exercise focuses on disasters only. We focus on how to mitigate disasters in the context of navy-to-navy cooperation,” he said.
Some 28 warships with almost 4,500 personnel from 17 countries will take part in the exercise.
The participants are 10 ASEAN country members and their partners, China, Japan, India, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea and the US.
Source : JakartaPost