Top Asean military brass boost unity vs terrorism
The top military officials of member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) agreed to strengthen cooperation against terrorism, a military spokesperson said on Sunday.
Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the public affairs office of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said that was the consensus during the 14th Asean Chiefs of Defense Forces Informal Meeting (ACDFIM) last week.
“The threats of terrorism, particularly the spread of IS (Islamic State)-inspired extremism; maritime security and the onslaught of disasters and calamities became the focus of the meeting and these inspired an agreement to forge stronger partnerships,” Arevalo said.
The military officials also agreed to enhance joint military exercises and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capacities.
AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Año, the chair of this year’s ACDFIM, called for enhanced cooperation among the Asean militaries for a more secure and stable region.
Aside from the meeting of defense forces chiefs, Año also hosted the 14th Asean Military Intelligence Informal Meeting and the 7th Asean Military Operations Informal Meeting.
During the plenary session on May 18, Año stressed the importance of securing the entire Asean given its economic leverage and potential.
“Asean has become a rising global economic force due to its strategic location and economic activity. It has abundant resources, a more integrated market and a large combined GDP from its members,” Año said.
The Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have an existing trilateral agreement to combat transborder crimes, terrorism, piracy and similar activities in the Sulu-Sulawesi-Celebes Sea.
“This partnership with neighbors will negate the threats and shows that strong military cooperation is important in aligning our security requirements and initiatives,” Año said.
The AFP chief also introduced the Development Support and Security Plan Kapayapaan as the AFP’s approach to attain national wellbeing through good governance, security and development.
“With this intensified holistic approach, we have made a lot of headway in our fight against terrorism,” Año said.
The meeting was attended by top military officials from Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia and Laos.
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