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Indonesia dispatches F-16 over Ambalat

December 10, 2008 (by Asif Shamim) - According to the Jakarta Post the Indonesian Air Force deployed a single F-16 on Wednesday along with a nine-person air crew from Madiun, East Java, to help secure Indonesian waters around the disputed Ambalat territory.

Two Indonesian vipers, fully armed, flying low (200 ft) over Gulf Of Popoh, South of East Java Province.

Further jet fighters are stationed at Sultan Hasanuddin Airport in Makassar, according to an Air Force official.

Sultan Hasanuddin Airport Chief IB Putu Dunia said, however, that the recent move was not related to increasing tensions between Indonesia and Malaysia.

Ambalat is located in the Sulawesi Sea off the east coast of Borneo island and is disputed by Malaysia and Indonesia. The area is thought to have a huge oil and gas reserve.

The Malaysian government says the area is part of its territory, while Indonesia says that Malaysia's claim is based on a map from 1979 that is not recognized by the Indonesian government and many other Southeast Asian countries.

The dispute between the two nations amounted to a minor skirmish between the two navies. In March 2005, Indonesia accused a Malaysian navy vessel of ramming into one of its military ships.

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