Indonesia arms maritime force amid growing China encroachment

Indonesia’s civilian maritime force ended 2020 by arming its vessels with machine guns amid continuing incursions by Chinese and Vietnamese fishing boats near Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone around its northern Natuna Islands. The move to equip the force, Bakamla, is seen as a delicate balancing act by Indonesia to deal with Chinese incursions without jeopardising growing bilateral ties with Beijing and at the same time defuse potential domestic anger over China’s encroachments, say…