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Asia: disasters as opportunities?

13 March 2015
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Following the recent recovery of the remaining debris of Air Asia flight QZ8501, which crashed on its way from Indonesia’s city of Surabaya to Singapore last December, the multinational Search and Locate (SAL) operation in the Java Sea can be proclaimed a success. Indonesia displayed remarkable leadership and coordination skills, acted in a fully transparent manner, shared information and cooperated closely with all participating foreign naval forces – which included parties as diverse as Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, the US, China and Russia. This stands in stark contrast to the chaos still surrounding the search for the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which went missing in March last year. This operation has attracted significant criticism both inside and outside Asia, highlighting the many problems surrounding interagency and interstate coordination, communication and cooperation.