President Joko Widodo visiting the Natuna Islands on a warship on June 23 (Source: straitstimes.com)

Jakarta (VNA) – Indonesia has decided to increase its defence budget to 108.7 trillion IDR (8.25 billion USD), up nearly 10 percent against this year’s initial set budget.

Minister of Defence Ryamizard Ryacudu said that a part of the new budget will be used to upgrade an air base and build a new harbour in Natuna Islands in an attempt to further deploy warships and fighters there.

The decision came after President Joko Widodo’s visit to the islands to assert the country’s sovereignty over the area and to strengthen the monitoring of its special economic zones.

Natuna is known to house one of the largest oil and gas reserves in the world and its fish-rich seas have attracted foreign fishing boats to poach in its waters.-VNA