| James Kon |
ASEAN Defence Ministers have positively responded to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s call to put in place practical procedures, which could assist in avoiding undesired incidents at sea.
His Majesty made this proposal in his capacity as the Chairman of the 22nd Asean Summit last year in Brunei Darussalam.
Supporting His Majesty’s call, the defence ministers who attended the recently-concluded Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting Retreat (ADMM Retreat) in Bagan, Myanmar, emphasised the need to work closely together as neighbours, friends and partners to face non-traditional security challenges, and maintain peace and stability in the region.
Representing His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam was Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar, Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
Pehin Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin, as Brunei Darussalam’s ADMM Leader, met with his Asean counterparts from Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam to review, and discuss ways to enhance bilateral defence relations. During the meetings, the Brunei Minister of Energy at the PMO spoke on the current status of the ADMM Direct Communications Link (DCL) initiative, which was implemented by the 9th Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Malaysia in March. He expressed appreciation for the continued support in this area.
An ad hoc working group comprising policy and technical officials was activated and convened from October 21 to 23 in Brunei Darussalam. They are responsible for the overall operational supervision of the DCL, and the continuous review of its technical parameters and operational procedures. The second meeting is scheduled from January 13 to 15, 2015 in the Sultanate.
The ADMM DCL initiative aims to provide a permanent, rapid, reliable and confidential way for any two Asean Defence Ministers to communicate with each other to arrive at mutual decisions in handling crisis or emergency situations, particularly those related to maritime security. The goal is not to resolve underlying issues, but to effectively manage and contain tensions in the event of a possible military encounter, to foster de-escalation, and to provide a channel for initial quick reaction and assistance in emergency situations. Pehin Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin also touched upon the Combined Field Training Exercise between the ADMM-Plus Maritime Security and the ADMM-Plus Counter Terrorism to be held in Brunei Darussalam and Singapore in May 2016.