Subject: TNI Says Navy Expansion On Track [+AT: US-China military ties warm with hotline]

The Jakarta Post

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Navy Fleet Expansion on Track

The Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Marshall Djoko Suyanto dismissed rumors Monday the plan to expand Navy fleets from two to three had been postponed.

"The plan is not postponed indefinitely, but is set according to our priorities," he told Antara in Surabaya.

"The expansion is a good plan, but we cannot (fulfill it) in one or two years due to our limitations."

Djoko said the government was currently focusing its efforts toward the education, health and employment sectors.

"For us in the military, the most important thing is to keep (up) our performance," he said.

Djoko (center) was in Surabaya on Monday to witness the hand over ceremony of the Navy chief of staff from Adm. Slamet Soebijanto (left) to his successor Vice Adm. Sumardjono.

The hand over is traditionally held at the Eastern Fleet headquarters in Surabaya, rather than Navy headquarters in Jakarta, to honor the creation of Indonesia's first fleet in Surabaya.

The East Java capital today hosts the Eastern Fleet and the Western Fleet is in Jakarta.

The expansion plan would see the Western Fleet moved to Tanjung Pinang, Riau Islands, and the creation of the Central Fleet in Makassar, South Sulawesi.

There were also talks around moving the Eastern Fleet to Sorong, Papua.

This move would see Surabaya host the Indonesian Fleet overseeing three regional fleets.

The Indonesian fleet would be headed by a three-star vice admiral and the three regional fleets would be commanded by two-star rear admirals.

Dr Jing-dong Yuan is director of the East Asia Non-proliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Non-proliferation Studies and an associate professor of International Policy Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

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