Indonesia Builds 12 Submarines to Address Ermerging Security Challenges

nsnbc : Indonesia aims at building 12 submarines, the first to be built in a Southeast Asian country. The infrastructure for the project will be launched in September. The decision to build the submarines come as Indonesia faces potential security threats from Australia over gas resources and as tensions about territorial disputes in the South China Sea rise.

Surabaya_Indonesia_Ship Building_2016Indonesia’s State-owned ship-building company PT PAL Indonesia is scheduled to launch the construction of the infrastructure to build 12 submarines for the country’s Navy in September 2016.

The State news agency Antara quotes PT PAL Indonesia Director of Design, Saiful Awar, as saying that the planned facility would meet the target of building the 12 submarines ordered by the Defense Ministry.

He added, “right now we are cooperating with South Korea to build three submarines which is serving as a training ground for Indonesian human resources”. One of the three submarines will be fully assembled by Indonesian workers. The fourth and the rest will be built in Indonesia, by Indonesian workers.

Saiful Awar noted that the entire infrastructure is scheduled to be complete in December 2016 when equipment and the submarines that were built in South Korea will arrive in Indonesia.

He added that a total of 206 workers would undergo training in South Korea, adding that “around 130 have finished and 30 more have gone there and will be followed by others later. These people will be the ones who will build submarines here later following the availability of the infrastructure”.

Masela Gas Block, Indonesia. Courtesy

Masela Gas Block, Indonesia. Courtesy

Indonesia’s decision to procure the 12 submarines for its Navy comes against the backdrop of increased perceived security challenges for Indonesia.

In March 2016 the executive director of Indonesia’s Institute for Defense and Security Studies, Connie Rahakundini Bakrie, noted that the development of the Masela gas block located at the maritime border to Australia increased the risk of a proxy war, but that the development would increase Indonesia’s regional influence.

Indonesia has no direct territorial disputes with China and has recently declared its neutrality with regard to territorial disputes in the South China Sea. However, the territorial disputes between China and Indonesia’s neighbors Brunei, the Philippines and  Malaysia have to be considered with regard to Indonesia’s defense posture.

One of the primary customers of liquefied natural gas from Indonesia’s Masela gas block will be Japan. The gas will have to be transported via shipping lanes in the South China Sea.

CH/L – nsnbc 08.04.2016

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