Subject: AN: RI navy, US army hold one-month joint exercise in E Java

RI navy, US army hold one-month joint exercise in E Java

Surabaya (ANTARA News) - The US Army and several units of the Indonesian Navy are currently conducting a one-month special joint exercise in the Karang Tekok region in Situbondo district, East Java, an Indonesian naval officer said.

The Indonesian naval units involved in the exercise are the Marine Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion (Yon Taifib), the Amphibious Troops Command and the "Jalamangkara" Detachment, Yon Tafib commander Lt Col Budi Purnomo said on Wednesday.

The exercise which was launched for a one-month period last February 12 by Indonesian Marine Corps Chief of Staff Brig Gen Baharudin was being participated in by 115 personnel from the two countries, Purnomo said.

The US Army was represented in the exercise by 47 and Indonesia by 68 men.

The exercise`s purpose was to increase the participants` skill in special operations handling, sharp shooting, reaction shooting, counter-terrorism strategy and tactics and knowledge about new US weaponry, he said.

"The exercise takes place in forests or on land without the use of heavy weapons," he said.

The US Army personnel taking part in the exercise were using new and modern military equipment, Purnomo said.

The US State Department said Jakarta and Washington resumed their military ties after the United States lifted an arms embargo on Indonesia in November 2005, ending a six-year ban on military contracts with the world`s most populous Muslim nation due to human right concerns.

The US Congress cut ties with Indonesia`s military in 1999 after the latter was accused of taking part in violence in East Timor during that territory`s secession from Jakarta in a UN-sponsored referendum.(*)

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