Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines launch joint operations to tackle terrorism

Elias Hubbard
October 12, 2017

This week, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines finally launched the air patrol component of their trilateral patrols in the Sulu Sea, following the maritime patrols they had introduced back in June.

"The maritime patrol is working very well".

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the joint initiative was aimed at countering the movement of violent extremists and terrorists across borders of the three nations.

The operations, part of a tri-nation effort to curb movements of militants linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the southern Philippines, mark the first joint air patrol over the unsafe waters.

He also told reporters at Subang air base that the air patrols would "go on as long as it takes".

Indonesia will propose a broad intelligence sharing initiative among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to deal with the rising threat of radical Islamist militants, its defense minister said on Thursday.

He added that the Marawi City siege was evident that affiliated terrorist organisations and sympathisers have exploited the porous borders and linked up with local terrorist groups. "In fact we've not had any incidents of piracy, kidnappings in the maritime areas of concern between three countries", said Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

The TAP, as it stands, is meant to adopt a monthly rotation following the opening of the air space of all three countries, with the objective being gradual coordination between the three sides and integration with the maritime patrols.

Hishammuddin said although the amount of global trade passing through the Sulu Seas is significantly lower than the amount passing the Straits of Malacca, it is nonetheless substantial to secure the sea waters as about US$40 billion (RM170 billion) worth of goods transit the waters annually.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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