Indonesian Naval Chief of Staff Admiral Slamet Soebijanto reaffirmed Thursday that only three littoral states bordering the Malacca Strait are entitled to conduct patrols in the world's busiest waterway.
"The patrols are the responsibility of littoral states, namely Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. If the U.S., India and other countries want to participate in the patrols, they can provide us intelligent information and equipment needed," Antara news agency quoted the naval chief as saying.
He said the three countries had conducted coordinated patrols in the strait under a tripartite or bilateral agreement since one and a half years ago.
So far, the Indonesian Navy had conducted joint patrols with the Singapore Navy in Tanjungpinang waters bordering the Philips Strait and with the Malaysian Navy in certain parts of the Malacca Strait, he said.
The US had expressed its intention to take part in patrolling the Malacca Strait.
During his recent visit to Indonesia, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld asserted the U.S. foreign defense policy on its intention to participate in patrolling the strait.
However, Rumsfeld declined to specify the format of cooperation, the type of aid and timetable to realize the intention.
Besides the U.S., India and Japan also had expressed their intention to help secure the strait, which, according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), is still considered dangerous for civil shipping.