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September 19, 2023 3:44 PM IST

Indonesia kicks off ASEAN joint military drills amid South China Sea tension

ASEAN | Indonesia | South China Sea | China

Indonesia kicked off the first joint military drills by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc on Batam island on September 19 amid rising maritime tension with China in the South China Sea region.

The five-day ASEAN Solidarity Exercise-01 Natuna (ASEX-01N) exercise, will be held at Indonesia’s Natuna Islands near the South China Sea. Military personnel from all ASEAN member countries, including East Timor will participate.

The non-combat drills are aimed at cooperation and strengthening strategic partnership among the member countries, Indonesia military chief Yudo Margono told reporters at the opening ceremony.

The drills come amidst rising tension with China after Beijing released a map in August with a “10-dash line” showing what appeared to be an expansion of the area it considers its territory in the South China Sea. Several ASEAN members rejected the map.

(Inputs from Reuters)

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