Indonesia, US hold largest joint military drills

Thousands of military personnel from Indonesia and the United States are participating in joint drills for two weeks described as the largest ever between the two countries.

The exercises, focused on island defence, were being held in three locations – Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi – from Aug 1 to 14, the Indonesian military said on Wednesday.

More than 2,100 Indonesian military personnel and 1,500 from the US army were involved in the drills, part of the yearly Garuda Shield exercises organised since 2009, it added.

The American soldiers landed in coronavirus-wracked Indonesia in late July and were tested for Covid-19 on arrival.

Indonesian army chief of staff Andika Perkasa said the drills were aimed at improving relations between the countries and upgrading the skills of both militaries.

They included field training, live fire, aviation and medical exercises.

“Hopefully, Garuda Shield will create future leaders of the Indonesian army who are both professional and up to international standards,” Andika said. — AFP

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