The marine's 10th infantry battalion on Setokok Island, Batam, became fully operational on Tuesday after being introduced by former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in October and after concerns of possible complaints by the Singaporean government.
Battalion commander Lt. Col. Kresno Pratowo told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday that the battalion comprised 700 soldiers and was equipped with amphibious tanks and rocket launchers.
"The battalion was inaugurated by former president Yudhoyono at the military academy in Magelang, Central Java, without the presence of the media. It will also be directly inaugurated by Navy chief Adm. Marsetio on Nov. 10," Kresno said.
Battalion personnel and heavy equipment landed at Batam's Batu Ampar Port on Tuesday morning and headed to the marine base on Setokok Island, 20 kilometers away. The battalion is considered a composite battalion, and its main duty is to secure the Strait of Malacca and the Singapore Strait against piracy and threats to maritime security.
The inauguration of the battalion's headquarters on Setokok was initially planned to coincide with the opening of the Multilateral Naval Exercise Komodo (MNEK) in March but was postponed. The base was ready for occupation a year ago with the intention to strengthen border security in the area, where there is a high potential for conflict.
The battalion is in line with the Navy's strategic plan to have three major armadas by 2024 in three national regions, namely a Western Armada, Central Armada and Eastern Armada, as well as a battalion on the Natuna Islands.