US, Indonesia to hold large-scale joint military exercises in Sumatra

Indonesia and the United States will hold large-scale military exercises next week to enhance interoperability, with 11 other nations participating as partner states or observers.

The annual Garuda Shield Exercise will take place on the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan from August 1-14.

According to the US Embassy and Consulates in Indonesia, it aims to strengthen the US-Indonesia strategic partnership and promote regional cooperation in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

The joint exercise will be “substantially greater in scope and scale than previous exercises,” with dozens of other countries participating for the first time, including Singapore, Australia and Japan, he said.

“This is a symbol of the U.S.-Indonesia bond and the growing relationship between our armies in this important region,” said General Charles Flynn, Commander, U.S. Army Pacific Command. statement.

Indonesia deploys seven Blackhawk helicopters, 41 armored vehicles and 618 weapons for upcoming Garuda Shield exercises, Indonesian General Andika Perkasa told reporters last week.

The exercise will involve 2,000 US troops, 2,000 Indonesian troops, and partner country forces. Canada, France, India, Malaysia, South Korea, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and the United Kingdom will participate as observer countries.

regional tensions

The exercise comes against the backdrop of heightened tensions between the United States and China over their growing claims in the region.

But Maj. Gen. Stephen G. Smith, who leads ground operations at the exercise, told reporters in Jakarta on Friday that the exercise should not be seen as a response to tensions.

“This exercise is not a threat and should not be seen as a threat to anyone. It is purely a military-to-military exercise,” he said.

Tensions and rhetoric flared up this week amid reports that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was due to visit Taiwan as early as August.

But U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping all but managed to avoid escalation in a phone call on Thursday, with both sides preoccupied by economic woes at home and Taiwan. It suggests that he does not want a new crisis that crosses the strait.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Aldogra Fredry


Aldgra Fredly is a Malaysia-based freelance writer covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.