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2023 Super Garuda Shield: Indonesia Hosts Largest Annual Military Drills with U.S. and Allies Amidst Rising Asia Tensions

U.S. Army soldiers carrying their rifles walk on a paddy field as they take part in the "Super Garuda Shield" joint military training exercise in Baturaja, South Sumatra province, Indonesia, August 3, 2022 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/M Risyal Hidayat/ via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. INDONESIA OUT.

2023 Super Garuda Shield: Indonesia Hosts Largest Annual Military Drills with U.S. and Allies Amidst Rising Asia Tensions

Indonesia hosts largest military drills with US, allies amid superpower tensions — BenarNews

Indonesia is set to host its largest annual joint military drills with the United States, Australia, and several other countries as part of the 2023 Super Garuda Shield exercise (Photo: Benar News)

2023 Super Garuda Shield: Indonesia Hosts Largest-Ever Joint Military Exercises Amid Escalating Asian Tensions

According to an RFA article, Indonesia is preparing to host its largest annual joint military exercises, in collaboration with the United States, Australia, and other nations. These drills come at a time when tensions between China and the United States are escalating in the Asian region. The 2023 Super Garuda Shield exercise will span two weeks in East Java province, featuring over 5,000 troops from Indonesia, the U.S., Australia, Japan, Singapore, France, and the United Kingdom, along with observers from 12 other nations.

The primary goal of the Super Garuda Shield exercise is to improve the tactical proficiency of participating troops, enhancing their professionalism. This exercise, running until September 13 in Surabaya and Banyuwangi, aims to bolster not only Indonesia’s national army capabilities but also regional security and cooperation. This year’s iteration includes about 2,000 more troops compared to the previous year’s exercise, making it the largest of its kind.

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Super Garuda Shield 2023: Diverse Activities, Regional Tensions, and Geopolitical Implications Ahead of East Asia Summit

According to an article from Benar News, the Super Garuda Shield Military drills encompass a diverse range of activities, including academic exchanges, professional development workshops, simulations, amphibious exercises, airborne operations, and more. These activities aim to increase the readiness and interoperability of the participating military forces.

Super Garuda Shield unfolds against the backdrop of rising tensions between the United States and China, particularly concerning Taiwan and the disputed South China Sea. While China claims extensive territory in the South China Sea, several neighboring countries, such as the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam, have competing territorial claims. Indonesia, although not a claimant, has faced tensions with China over fishing rights near the Natuna Islands and concerns about China’s expansive maritime claims within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The exercise holds geopolitical significance, demonstrating the importance of defense cooperation in the region amidst rising geopolitical tensions. Additionally, these drills coincide with the upcoming East Asia Summit in Jakarta, where regional leaders, including the U.S. and China, will convene to discuss strategic, political, and economic matters. U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to attend, while China’s representation remains undisclosed, according to Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi. It’s worth noting that discussions at the East Asia Summit may touch upon the role of the Super Garuda Shield system in enhancing regional security.

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