Last week, India and Indonesia began another iteration of their biannual joint naval patrols which will last until mid-May.
Since 2002, the Indian Navy and the Indonesian navy (TNI-AL) have been participating in coordinated patrols (CORPAT) near the international maritime boundary line twice a year, usually in April and October. The so-called Ind-Indo CORPAT helps both ensure safety and security for commercial shipping and international trade in the Indian Ocean as well as enhance interoperability between both sides.
“The CORPAT…reflects the shared concern between the two countries for a peaceful Indian Ocean for the benefit of the international community,” the Indian defense ministry said in an official statement.
On April 28, the two sides kicked off the 27th series of these patrols, with an opening ceremony held at Port Blair. According to the Indian defense ministry, the Indonesian delegation led by First Admiral Muhammad Ali arrived at Port Blair and called on Vice Admiral Bimal Verma AVSM at his office for discussions on issues of mutual interest. No further details were disclosed.
Traditionally, each Ind-Indo CORPAT has seen the deployment of one ship and one fixed wing aircraft from each country. For this iteration, the Indonesian Navy is being represented by the ship KRI Imam Bonjol and a CN 235 maritime patrol aircraft. On the Indian side, the ship INS Karmuk and one Naval Dornier aircraft will participate.
Both sides have tried to boost the Ind-Indo CORPAT over time. The April 2014 iteration saw the participation of both Commanders-in-Chief at both the opening and closing ceremonies – the highest level of interaction since its inception. And the October 2015 iteration saw the holding of the first ever bilateral maritime exercise embedded within an expanded version of CORPAT, an upgrade which both sides had been discussing previously. The inaugural India-Indonesia Bilateral Maritime Exercise was held from 17-18 October in the Andaman Sea.
The closing ceremony for this edition of CORPAT will be held in Belawan, Indonesia from 16 to 19 May.