President to inaugurate marine HQ soon, says Navy chief

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will officially open the Marine Corps’ Infantry Battalion 10 headquarters on Setokok Island in Batam, Riau Islands province, according to a top Navy official.

“The President said the launch of the headquarters was just a matter of time. We will wait,” Indonesian Navy chief of staff Adm. Marsetio told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

He said the launch was expected before October when the President’s term of office ended.

Marsetio added that the Navy had already started to operate some facilities at the headquarters.

The Navy also gave assurances that no objection had been filed by the neighboring government of Singapore, as the headquarters was located in Indonesian territory.

Marsetio was in Setokok to officially open the mosque in the battalion’s compound.

Marsetio said a company of marines had been assigned to the battalion with the specific task of maritime integration operations, armed with special equipment. The battalion, he added, was led by a lieutenant colonel with a special unit background.

“This is a composite battalion, a combination of the Navy’s special units,” Marsetio said.

He added that its presence was to secure the Malacca and Singapore straits from piracy and other marine security disturbances frequently committed in the area.

The infantry battalion headquarters in Setokok was scheduled to be launched at the same time as the official opening of the 2014 Multilateral Naval Exercise Komodo (MNEK) in Batam in March this year, but was canceled.

The launch was then rescheduled for June, but the President officially opened the Koran Recital Competition (MTQ).

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa previously said no objection was conveyed by the Singaporean government regarding the establishment of the battalion headquarters in Setokok, which directly borders Singapore.

“No such objection was discussed at the meeting,” Marty said after accompanying the President during a meeting with Singaporean President Tony Tan in Batam last June.

Marty also said the two leaders had an annual forum for discussing bilateral relationship issues in detail, including military issues.

The battalion headquarters has been developed within the last year to strengthen security in the border region that has high conflict potential.

The establishment of the battalion was in accordance with the Navy’s strategic plan 2024 that will consist of three armadas, west, central and east. A similar headquarters will also be established in Natuna.

Covering 37 hectares, the construction was finished in 10 months. By February this year, all facilities at the headquarters were expected to be completed, including the helipad, shooting field and other supporting buildings.

Setokok Island is located some 4 kilometers off Batam and is connected to other islands in the region by bridge.

As an initial step, a total of 600 marine personnel will be deployed at the headquarters. They will be strengthened with smaller units with special capacities.

Sumber : Jakartapost