At least 40 military vessels from 18 countries will join a multilateral naval exercise (MNE) in April in the Indonesian coastal regions of Batam, Natuna and Anambas.

The MNE, namely “Komodo 2014” was an idea of Indonesia and the United States to establish a joint exercise between the navies of ASEAN member countries and their eight dialogue partners.

Indonesia will deploy 5,000 soldiers and 12 naval vessels to join the MNE Komodo 2014, according to First Amidral Agus Heyana, commander of Navy Base 4 in Tanjungpinang.

The naval exercise would not only improve mutual understanding and capacity of cooperation between ASEAN countries and its eight partners, but also increase economic conditions to the local people, Agus added.

ASEAN+8 includes ASEAN member countries in addition to the US, the Republic of Korea, Australia, Russia, China, India, New Zealand and Japan.-VNA