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US and Indonesia to hold largest island defense drills

4,500-member Garuda Shield intended to counter China but Jakarta seeks balance

This year's Garuda Shield military exercise for the U.S. and Indonesia will focus on island defense. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Indonesia)

JAKARTA -- The U.S. and Indonesian armies will launch joint drills Sunday focused on island defense with more 4,500 service members, the largest exercise ever conducted by the two countries, Nikkei has learned.

The upcoming drills, part of the Garuda Shield exercises conducted annually by the two militaries for more than a decade, will be held on the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Sulawesi as well as in Kalimantan for two weeks, a source close to the Indonesian military told Nikkei.

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