The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and the Indonesian Navy (TNI AL) concluded Joint Minex Pandu at Changi Command and Control Centre in Singapore this morning. Held in Batam, waters off Bintan, and Singapore, the bilateral mine-countermeasure (MCM) and clearance diving exercise was conducted from 14 to 19 August 2019 to enhance the two navies' ability to counter underwater threats together.
Joint Minex Pandu combines Joint Minex, an MCM exercise, and Exercise Pandu, a clearance diving exercise, to synergise the Mine-Countermeasure Vessel (MCMV) and dive team capabilities of both navies to neutralise underwater threats. This year's exercise saw the participation of more than 250 personnel from the RSN and the TNI AL. The RSN participated in the exercise with two Bedok-class MCMVs, RSS Bedok and RSS Punggol, and a Clearance Diving Team, while the TNI AL sent two Pulau Rengat-class MCMVs, KRI Pulau Rengat and KRI Pulau Rupat and an Underwater Demolition unit.
The exercise comprised table-top planning exercises, professional exchanges on mine-hunting and clearance diving techniques, and MCM breakthrough operations in the eastern entrance of the Singapore Strait to clear a "mine free" lane for safe passage of ships through a "mined area". The exercise also saw both navies conduct MCM drills to respond to non-conventional maritime security threats, such as the disposal of water-borne improvised explosive devices off the eastern coast of Bintan, Indonesia.
RSN Commander Maritime Security Task Force, Rear-Admiral (RADM) Seah Poh Yeen and TNI AL 1st Commander of Sea Battle Task Force, 1st Fleet Command, First-Admiral Irvansyah officiated at the opening ceremony in Batam on 14 August 2019. RADM Seah spoke on the importance of maritime trade for both Singapore and Indonesia, and both navies' shared resolve and close working relationship to keep the sea lanes free from underwater threats. "Singapore and Indonesia are both heavily dependent on maritime trade for economic survival. Being close neighbours, we have a shared responsibility to keep our common waterways open to ensure sustained economic growth in this region", he said.
The RSN and TNI AL conduct regular professional exchanges, exercises and visits, and also collaborate through the multilateral Malacca Straits Patrol. The RSN's other bilateral exercise with the TNI AL, Exercise Eagle Indopura, is the Singapore Armed Forces' longest-running bilateral exercise with a foreign military. These activities underscore the close and long-standing defence relationship between Singapore and Indonesia.