INDONESIA has set plans to improve the development and reinforce its border areas by building up military bases in the areas, expected of ready to operate next year.
The plan to have military bases in key border areas originally came from President Joko Widodo who previously said that condition in border areas must be changed into maximum level within three years, Indonesia's Home Minister Thahjo Kumolo said.
"By 2017, border areas must be reinforced with military bases," the minister said in his remarks to inaugurate the new office of National Agency of Border Management (BNPP) on Thursday.
According to him, government had initially allocated funds to finance the plan in the last two years. However the allocation continued to decrease as it was used to finance government's other priorities to develop infrastructure, health sector and many others.
"The allocation was 16 trillion rupiah (US$1.1 billion) last year. This year it deducted to 14 trillion rupiah (US$1 billion). It could be further decreased next year as government is still focusing on other priorities," Thahjo added.
As the ultimate project, government would make Natuna island near South China Sea into a military base. The other military bases would also be built in the nation's border area between Bitung and Morotai islands in eastern region, he added.
Government also has plans to build a military base in Saumlaki, an Indonesia's area close to Timor Leste, the minister said.
To make those would-be operated military bases effective, the minister said that a major military coordination would essentially be required. He added that the navy fleet should no longer be focused their operation from Jakarta and Surabaya like what they do at present. Tjahjo said that his ministry would coordinate with the military commander to immediately shift and enhance the military forces in the Natuna, Bitung and Morotai border areas so as to secure and effectively anticipate possible security threats from foreign elements.
In different occasion, Indonesia's Military Commander Gen Gatot Nurmantyo said that infrastructure development in border areas should also address wisdom of indigenous people living in the areas.
Gatot said that when he inspected construction of 135.63 kilometre-long road facilitating people's transportation near Indonesia's border to Malaysia in West Kalimantan province on Thursday.
The road's construction process is massively involving military troops along with their equipment. The road was built in Indonesia's territory 100 metres away from land borderline with Malaysia. West Kalimantan Governor Cornelis said that the road would enhance the efforts to monitor border areas.
Development of the road in West Kalimantan province was part of Indonesia's aim to improving well-being of people in border areas and addressing security issue in the areas.