Indonesia announced Tuesday it plans to build a military post on Nipah Island, part of Indonesia’s most outer territory and seen as ‘strategic’ to Indonesia’s economic and geopolitical interests.
Nipah’s northern part borders Singapore’s Sultan Shoal Island, and the western area between the two islands was recently added to the Indonesia-Singapore border through land reclamation, expanding the central boundary established in 1973.
Foreign Minister Hassan Wira-yuda will meet with his Singaporean counterpart later this month to sign the agreement over the new border area.
A “blue print” for defensive and economic developments on the island is being prepared by Cabinet ministers under President Susilo Bambang Yu-dhoyono’s instructions. According to presidential spokesman Andi Mallarangeng, this includes plans for a Navy post on the island and the development of infrastructure for economic expansion. Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsong said that “The preparations will probably focus on the shipping and tourism industries, or the traffic systems monitoring merchant vessels”.
The multi-sector development of Nipah Island is being prepared by Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Widodo AS and coordinating Minister for the Economy Sri Mulyani Indrawati, said Juwono, and the plan will outline the duties and financing required by each ministry.
As with the Riau Islands, Nipah will be integrated into the free trade zones of inter-provincial Batam, Bintan and Karimum. The island will also be part of the development of the Sijori (Singapore, Malaysia’s Johor and Indonesia’s Riau Islands) Growth Triangle, which is a partnership between the three countries to develop the appeal of the subregion to regional and international investors.
“We want to anticipate future growth and get the most from the Sijori Growth Triangle while strengthening the most outer points of our nation,” Andi said.
Erwida Maulia, “RI to tighten security on new border with Singapore” – The Jakarta Post, Jakarta 02/04/2009, athttp://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/02/04/ri-tighten-security-new-bo...