Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines Launch Joint Air Patrol Operation

Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines launch joint operations to tackle terrorism

Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines began coordinated air patrols on Thursday (Oct 12) to intensify their fight against Islamic militants who have laid siege to a southern Philippine city.

The launch of the air patrol was reportedly delayed due to the violence in Marawi.

"The maritime patrol is working very well". It is especially important to secure the sea lanes because about US$40 billion (S$54.17 billion) worth of trade transits through the Sulu Seas each year, he said.

A meeting of Asean defence ministers later this month would include talks on whether other Asean nations would participate in the joint air patrols, he added.

Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines have agreed to adopt a continuous monthly rotation for the joint TAP whereby Malaysia will be the first nation to lead the operation next month using aircraft from the RMAF, followed by the Philippines in December and subsequently Indonesia in January 2018.

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Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu once again put this angle in the spotlight at the launching of new trilateral air patrols at Subang Air Base this week when he said that though there were requests from countries, including the United States and China, to join the patrols, this would need to be considered carefully.

Such patrols, said Lorenzano, should not raise concerns over breaches of territorial waters or airspace as these were joint operations which meant the three military forces were in constant contact. "We are opening our air space in the adjoining areas of concern over the Sulu Sea".

Ryamizard said besides a strong signal to IS and extremist groups, this was also a sign that Asean members could stand together and settle such issues themselves.

Hishammuddin said with the region consumed by the growing threat posed by Daesh militants, the initiative was significance not just in the Sulu Seas, but in the context of challenges in Southeast Asia more broadly.

Also present at the launch was Singapore's Senior Minister of State for Defence, Dr Maliki Osman.

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