India, Indonesia to soon hold joint Air Force drill to boost military ties — envoy Suryodipuro

India and Indonesia will soon hold a joint drill between their air forces as they seek to strengthen bilateral military ties amid the ongoing border tensions between New Delhi and Beijing.

“In terms of military cooperation, we have strengthened from coordinated patrol in the Andaman Sea, that has been going on at least for the past 17 years. We have army-to-army exercises, navy-to-navy, and soon we will start air force to air force” said Sidharto Reza Suryodipuro, outgoing Ambassador of Indonesia to India, in his address to the Ananta Aspen Centre Monday.

This is expected to send a strong signal to China at a time when New Delhi and Beijing are engaged in a bitter border standoff at the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh.

The envoy said there has been considerable strengthening of ties between both the countries at the level of governments in the last six years and the relationship got elevated to the level of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2018.

“India and Indonesia now have a shared vision of maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific,” the ambassador said.

On the issue of Quad countries — India, US, Japan and Australia — holding joint naval exercise, the envoy said, “I think countries would establish their layers of diplomacy based on how they look at their environment and each country’s perspective of the environment would be different.”

He also batted for the ongoing connectivity project between Aceh and Andaman, where joint patrolling has been going on, and said it needs strengthening.

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