First joint air patrols over Sulu Sea launched by Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia
The Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia have launched its “Trilateral Air Patrol” (TAP) to stand together to secure common areas of maritime interest against terrorists and other lawless elements.
Malaysian Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and his counterparts, Indonesian Defence Minister Gen (rtd) Ryamizard Ryacudu and Philippine defence secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, proclaimed the security and defence collaboration between the three nations in the high risk waters of the Sulu Sea and the Southern Philippines region was now complete.
“The joint trilateral patrols will continue for as long as it takes. This should be a signal to Daesh (ISIS) and those involved in piracy at seas between our three countries that we will bring them down,” said Hishammuddin.
Malaysian Defence Minister said the tri-nation efforts were necessary given the “activation of this maritime domain by terrorist organisations as a base for operations”.
Trilateral Air Patrol (TAP) will provide an air control component that complements marine patrol activities.
The objective of TAP is to conduct air patrols in the maritime territorial waters of the three countries and to provide operational support to maritime units of marine forces.
TAP was one of the initiatives to strengthen security and readiness of air space and maritime surveillance.
The patrol also aimed to intensify security in the eastern waters of Sabah through the implementation of air patrols with the three countries and to strengthen the states security through diplomatic relations between Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Philippines’ Secretary of National Defence, Delfin Lorenzana said that the Trilateral Air Patrol would facilitate better surveillance of extremists’ movements in the region.
“The effect of this (patrol) is we can prevent others from coming in and also from escaping because a lot of the fighters are also Malaysian and Indonesian and from the Middle East,” said Mr Lorenzana.
Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin added that ASEAN is now also dealing with the return of foreign fighters fleeing from a crackdown on their activities in the Middle East.
“It is up to us to guarantee that the area is secure and safe,” he said in his keynote address at the launch.