South China Sea’s promise of trade has got countries scrambling to fight for territorial claims. However, this also pitted the nations against each other with most claimants making a move against China’s aggression – this time Indonesia is thinking of deploying missiles.
Indonesia is not taking any chances in light of the South China Sea tensions. The country just announced that it is planning to deploy its own air defense system in the disputed region.
IHS Jane reported about meeting transcripts detailing the Indonesian military’s plans to beef up its territorial claims in the region. Indonesia is working on asserting its rights through missile and troops deployment. Specifically, these include sending four Special Forces units, such as the Korps Pasukan Khas (PASKHAS), to Pulau Natuna Besar Island in the South China Sea.
The forces to be deployed will also be equipped with Oerlikon Skyshield, an air defense system. The system comes with 35mm multirole cannon capable of firing 1,000 rounds per minute. Its precision-guided projectiles, on other hand, can shoot down an aircraft. The mentioned meeting also revealed additional request for funding regarding the acquisition of more medium-range air defense systems for the said island. Indonesia is also looking into sending eight fighter aircraft on Ranai air base comprised ofan unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) squadron facility, Su-27 and the Su-30 or F-16.
China has been getting aggressive with its efforts in the disputed region. Although the area seems far from being a geographical bottleneck, analysts say that China may be looking into developing a strait out of it through military asset deployment.
“My speculation would be that China has basically calculated that it will take some near-term, rather assertive actions in the South China Sea, and pay short-term reputation costs in exchange for what it believes to be longer-term strategic gains,” CNBC quoted Mira Rapp-Hooper, a senior fellow in the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for New American Security.
“The logical conclusion drawn from China’s adding … islands in the southern part of the South China Sea with military-sized runways, substantial port facilities, radar platforms and space to accommodate military forces is that China’s objective is to dominate the waters of the South China Sea at will,” explained Peter Dutton, professor and director of the China Maritime Studies Institute at the U.S. Naval War College.