Naval Strategies: How Indonesian Navy Operates to Fight Maritime Crimes

Naval Strategies: How Indonesian Navy Operates to Fight Maritime Crimes
  • PublishedMarch 24, 2023

The Indonesian Navy had many names and underwent changes before establishing itself in its modern form. It achieved its current authority by establishing alliances to fulfill its defensive role. Its obligations today include protecting its waters, fighting maritime crimes like smuggling and illegal fishing, and safeguarding its marine ecology.

History of the Indonesian Navy

The Indonesian Navy (TNI AL) was created on August 22, 1945, after independence. However, some historians place this date as September 10, 1945, at the start of the Indonesian National Revolution. Whatever the case, the navy was first called Badan Keamanan Rakyat-Laut (BKR) or the Agency of the People’s Security Sea Service. Now, this Navy serves as the naval division of the National Armed Forces.

The Chief of Staff heads this Navy, which has three primary fleets. These fleets include the Armada, the first fleet stationed in Jakarta. The second fleet is the Komando Armada II, stationed in Surabaya. Lastly, the third fleet is the Komando Armada III in Sorong. Additionally, the Indonesian Navy has the Military Sealift Command. The Indonesian Navy also controls the Marine Corps.

All commissioned ships’ names begin with KRI, which refers to the Kapal Republik Indonesia or the Republic of Indonesia ship. KAL is an abbreviation for Kapal Angkatan Laut for a Navy ship made from fiberglass and smaller than 118 feet or 36 meters.

Indonesian Navy collaborations, fighting crime, and threats

The primary obligation of this Navy is to protect the country’s coastline. It maintains law and order by patrolling its territorial waters and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The Indonesian Navy must also defend many maritime interests, including islands in its region and oceanic threats. It forms international collaborations in the course of its defensive role.

International collaboration

Indonesia is increasing its diplomatic relationships with Iran and other Middle Eastern countries. Simultaneously, it builds on its regional ties and maintains traditional relations with countries in the European Union. The Navy is also working on strengthening its relationship with the U.S.

Despite intermittent animosities between China and Indonesia, these countries face the same threats. As such, they must develop their defenses to protect mutual and individual interests. As part of its naval strategy, this Navy undergoes training exercises with the navies of other countries to prepare its personnel for any eventuality.

How Indonesia fights naval crimes

According to its law, Indonesia’s Navy must perform several duties to defend the country. Consequently, it fights crime by performing military operations and obligations. It enforces local, national, and international laws to protect its territorial waters and sea lane communications (SLOCs) from terrorism, and piracy, constantly surveilling traffic in its territory.

In one case, the Navy has turned to farm seaweed to reduce piracy and recidivism. In the case of illegal fishing, the Indonesian Navy has resorted to blowing up boats. This Navy is also known for imprisoning people without permits when waiting in Indonesian waters on their way to Singapore.

Indonesia’s Navy also engages in the empowerment of civilians to support its defenses. On a larger scale, this Navy develops its diplomatic ties and foreign policies in support of fighting crimes on the high seas and along its island territorial regions. This Navy will further perform other duties in pursuit of maintaining and developing its power as part of an overarching naval strategy to optimize its performance.

Indonesian Navy threats and enemies

Recent threats in Indonesian waters include those from China, which is placing pressure on Indonesia regarding disputed waters. Another international threat comes from Beijing, claiming that Indonesia is drilling for oil and gas in its sovereign waters near the Natuna Islands.

Another threat is crime in territorial waters. But other threats include insufficient funding to build the Indonesian Armed Forces and Navy. Also, a further threat is present from insufficient definitions of security in the ASEAN region, and the local maritime conditions are not conducive to improving maritime power.

These are just some of the threats and enemies the Navy deals with on a regular basis. Due to these circumstances, the Indonesian Navy should build on its regional and international diplomatic relationships

Future of the Indonesian Navy

In the medium to long term, this Navy’s future means procuring assets to enhance its defense capacities. Combat management systems (CMS) for rapid attack craft, aircraft for the Navy, and missile boats armed with Naval Strike Missile (NSM) capacity are just some of the Navy’s plans. This expansion also means new programs to build warships and acquire submarines and other equipment to strengthen the position of this naval power.

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