South East Asian Defence Cooperation

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South East Asian Defence Cooperation
In general, defence cooperation in the South-East Asia region can be broken down into two distinct types, the first being military cooperation and the other being defence industry cooperation. Both of which are slowly, but noticeably, on the increase.

by Dzirhan Mahadzir

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMilitary cooperation in the region has been on the rise, not only between nations in South-East Asia but also between South-East Asian nations and extra-regional countries, particularly the United States and Australia though in recent times China has made efforts to increase its military cooperation and engagement in the region. Defence industry cooperation between South-East Asian nations, on the other hand, has been limited though South-East Asian nations have been increasing industry collaboration and partnerships with countries outside the region in developing their defence industry and in-country production of military equipment for their use.

As a whole multi-lateral military cooperation involving and between ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nation) countries alone has been fairly limited, with the Malacca Straits Patrols initiative being the only operational cooperation. Nevertheless, numerous dialogue and meetings session have occurred under the ASEAN ambit such as the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM), and a number of ASEAN military meetings at various levels, including one each for ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces, Army Chiefs, Navy Chiefs and Air Force Chiefs are carried out on an annual basis.


It is notable that no field exercises have been held under the ADMM banner but instead have been held under the ADMM-Plus, an offshoot of the ADMM which includes other countries outside ASEAN. The ADMM-Plus consists of 18 countries, namely the ten ASEAN countries as well as Australia, China, Japan, India, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States. The ADMM–Plus’s purpose is to facilitate strategic dialogue between defence officials as well as practical cooperation between militaries with the goal of confidence building and promoting stable military-to-military relations in the region. At the inaugural ADMM-Plus meeting held in Hanoi, Vietnam, on 12th October 2010, it was agreed on that there would be five areas of practical cooperation to pursue under ADMM-Plus, namely maritime security, counter-terrorism, disaster management, peacekeeping operations and military medicine with Expert Working Groups (EWGs) established for them.

There are several reasons for the lack of an ASEAN countries-only multilateral military exercise, first off ASEAN has always stressed that it is a political and economic grouping rather than a military or security alliance with no intention of becoming a NATO style organisation. Secondly the cost and complexity of hosting or participating in a multilateral exercise has meant that any involvement to this end would have to bring about substantial benefits or return in participation given the wide disparity in capabilities and sizes of ASEAN’s military forces. Where some ASEAN countries are on the lower end of the military curve, the benefits to members on the higher end would be of little return for the cost of participation. As a result, most ASEAN countries mainly conduct bilateral exercises with neighboring ASEAN members or with extra-regional countries while multilateral exercises are conducted with the involvement of non-ASEAN countries in such, particularly with the United States.

Malacca Straits

The Malacca Straits Patrol (MSP) began in July 2004 with the establishment of the Malacca Straits Sea Patrol and this was followed by the Eye In the Sky (EIS) initiative in September 2005 as response to international concerns regarding piracy in the Malacca Straits. Originally comprising of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia with Thailand later joining in 2008, the MSP works on the basis of coordinated sea and air patrols of the Malacca Straits by the nations involved rather than a joint patrol system. This is likely due to the legalities involved in apprehending pirates in the waters of another nation. The approach has been successful with the number of piracy incidents in the Straits of Malacca reduced to a single incident in 2012.

US Contributions

Outside of the Malacca Straits patrol, which is narrow in scope and involves only a small number of ASEAN nations, the only other multilateral defence cooperation efforts in the region center upon the ADMM and ADMM-Plus forums, the Five Power Defence Arrangement and multilateral regional exercises spearheaded by the United States. The recent ADMM-Plus Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR)/Military Medicine (MM) Exercise held in Brunei from 17th to 20th June 2013 marked the first time the group conducted a military field exercise under its aegis and drew a substantial participation from member countries with 3,200 personnel, seven ships, 15 helicopters as well as military medical, engineering and Search And Rescue (SAR) teams and assets from the 18 member nations. Both China and the United States sent a substantial contingent to the exercise. China provided the Peace Ark hospital ship plus engineers, medical and SAR teams along with helicopters while the United States sent the supply ship USNS Matthew Perry with medical teams and helicopters thus marking a rare moment where their two militaries participated together in a joint multinational field exercise. This was also the case for Japan and China, with the Japanese deploying the destroyer JS Shirane along with medical personnel and helicopters.

The ADMM-Plus is expected to carry out further exercises under its aegis as part of an effort to boost cooperation and confidence building in the region. An ADMM-Plus Counter-Terrorism Exercise was carried out in early September 2013 in Indonesia, and from 29th September until 1st October, Australia will host a Maritime Security Field Training Exercise under the ADMM-Plus aegis in the vicinity of Jervis Bay and the East Australian Exercise Area. This will involve personnel and ships

from 14 of the 18 ADMM-Plus member states. An ADMM-Plus naval exercise in Indonesia’s Riau Islands province is scheduled for April 2014.


Signed in 1971 between the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore, the Five Power Defence Arrangement (FPDA) continues to provide a useful platform for defence cooperation between the five countries involved despite its initial raison d’étre lying in the context of the Cold War. Five exercises are carried out under the FPDA, the annual joint exercise Bersama Shield and annual Suman Warrior land exercise while three other exercises, the joint Bersama Lima and Bersama Padu exercises, and the joint Suman Protector planning exercise are FPDA events conducted across a five year cycle. Bersama Lima is held in the first, second and fourth years, Bersama Padu is held in the third year, and Suman Protector is held in the fifth year. This year’s Bersama Lima exercise which will be held in November marks the beginning of that five year cycle.

In recent years the UK’s participation has declined in terms of the naval and air assets involved though this has much to do with the downsizing of both the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. Though RAF Eurofighter Typhoon F/GR.4 combat aircraft participated in FPDA exercises in Malaysia in 2011 and 2013, cynics have said that the Typhoon’s participation was prompted by the UK’s marketing of the jet for Malaysia’s Multi-Role Combat Aircraft requirement to replace the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s MiG-29N fleet. UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond at this year’s Shagri-La Dialogue stressed that the UK remain committed to the region and the FPDA. Nevertheless, it is open to question, given the current size of the UK military, particularly the Royal Navy, how much of a presence and commitment the UK can sustain towards both the FPDA and the region over the long term. Still however, the FPDA will continue to endure given its usefulness for the countries involved.


Despite all the attention given towards the US Rebalance or Pivot to Asia, it should be noted that the US has always been heavily engaged in South-East Asia since the Second World War. Multilateral exercises such as Cobra Gold, Cope Tiger and Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) and the Cooperation Afloat Readiness And Training (CARAT) series of initiatives have been in existence for a number of years before the announcement of the US Asia rebalance. However it should be noted that the rotational deployment of the US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships to Singapore (currently only the USS Freedom is deployed, although eventually a total of four ships will be deployed) and the US Marine Corps training deployment to Australia will also form additional engagement and cooperation opportunities for the US with countries in South-East Asia. The LCS’s focus on maritime security missions such as the interdiction of suspect ships, VBSS (Visit, Board, Search and Seizure) and counter-piracy makes it ideal for engagement with Southeast Asian navies who face the challenges of preventing maritime terrorism and maritime crimes. Moreover the LCS’s capability to operate in shallow waters and it’s smaller size compared to other US Navy ships allows greater flexibility in operations and engagement in the region, particularly when considering that a number of naval bases in the region are of limited size and not designed to accommodate larger American vessels. Meanwhile there has been talk of having the US Marine forces deployed to Australia and the Australian military conducting joint exercises together with South-East Asian countries either in Australia or in South-East Asia with Indonesia being a likely possibility in 2014.

Australia maintains a steady presence in the region in terms of defence cooperation. Apart from participation in the FPDA, it has a series of bilateral military cooperation initiatives with countries in the region notably Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. The Singapore Armed Forces make use of Australian training areas to conduct large-scale land warfare exercises. In 2011, when Malaysia was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan using RMAF Lockheed Martin C-130H freighters, the Royal Australian Air Force provided free use of its C-130 mission training simulators in Australia for RMAF training. While the RMAF had a C-130 simulator, there was no mission module which replicated expected conditions in Afghanistan. Australia’s cooperation between its special forces and Indonesian special forces have been a source of controversy, particularly from human rights group who claimed that Indonesian special forces have been involved in a number of human rights abuses in operations in Papua though Australia’s commitment to assist Indonesia’s counter-terrorism capabilities in order to prevent further attacks on Australians in Indonesia have countered calls for the cessation of cooperation with Indonesian special forces.

China Reaches Out

China has made marked efforts to increase defence cooperation with countries in South East Asia although by and large exercises have been limited in scope due to most countries taking a cautious approach in light of Chinese claims to disputed areas in the region. Malaysia has agreed to conduct a joint bilateral military exercise with China in April 2014 though the type of exercise has yet to be determined. China has maintained a strong defence cooperation relationship with Thailand with the two countries having held joint special forces exercises in the past and China providing technical assistance to Thailand in developing indigenous Multiple Rocket Launch Systems. China and Indonesia are currently in discussion over the joint production of the Chinese Aerospace Group’s C-705 anti-ship missile for use by Indonesia.

Defence industry cooperation between ASEAN countries have been next to non-existent, differing requirements, a reluctance to share research and development with neighboring ASEAN members and the desire to develop their own indigenous defence industry capability have all contributed to this situation. Though the ASEAN Defence Industry Collaboration (ADIC) initiative was signed in May 2011 at the Fifth ADMM in Jakarta, little progress has been made. The chief proponent of the ADIC was then Malaysian Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who pushed strongly for defence collaboration between ASEAN countries, however with Mr. Zahid Hamidi having left the Defence Minister portfolio, it would seem the ADIC appears to be stillborn as none of the ASEAN Defence Ministers appear to be keen to push the ADIC initiative strongly.

Industrial Efforts

On the other side defence cooperation with industrial partners outside the region is increasing. Such efforts centre upon the development of the local industry and transfer of technology as part of the purchase of military equipment. Indonesia and Vietnam are working on joint shipbuilding with Damen Schelde for their respective warship procurements, similarly Indonesia is pursuing the same course of shipbuilding for its purchase of submarines from South Korea and on the aviation side its purchase of C-295 turboprop freighters from Airbus Military includes final assembly in Indonesia. Malaysia will be building its six-ship Second Generation Patrol Vessel–Littoral Combat Ship in country with the assistance of France’s DCNS whose ‘Gowind’ class corvette hull design will be used for the ship. At the same time, the Malaysian Army, Malaysia’s Deftech and Turkey’s FNSS Defence Systems are currently working together on the eight-wheel drive AV-8 Armoured Fighting Vehcile, the prototype being currently on trial in Malaysia with local production of 257 vehicles scheduled to commence next year. With ASEAN countries looking to develop their manufacturing capability and their skilled workforce capability, as a whole, future military sales to such countries will involve industrial cooperation requirements rather than just being performed as a pure sale.


lagi2 newbie berreputasi merah emoticon-Cape d... (S)

salah tah gan???

cuma heran aja
jangan lupa baca aturan formil, wajib mencantumkan link source artikel n komentar TS
Seato aja gak berhasil mo bikin apa lagi skarang.................emoticon-Ngacir
bukannya dulu dah pernah di bahas habis di formil??
intinya :
"selama negara-negara di ASEAN masih punya conflict of interest dengan negara sesama anggota ASEAN, kayaknya mustahil bikin pakta pertahanan"
SEATO = suatu hal yang mustahil emoticon-Big Grin lah masing-masing negara punya kepentingan sendiri,,ada yg confong ke kiri,ada yang condong ke kanan,ada yang condong kiri dan kanan emoticon-Hammer (S)

sumber sama komen TS mana nih?? emoticon-Stick Out Tongue

kan masih nyubi bin kyubi om..kalo udah nguasai semua pasti bisa masukin sumbernya:-)

apa hubungannya??? emoticon-Bingung

ROE ya tetap ROE berlaku untuk semua......
sering dibahas dulu intinya semua ga bakal berhasil karena konflik interest antar sesama anggota aseanemoticon-Cendol (S)
dear TS..

berikan komentar / tanggapan terhadap postingan ente ya, biar bisa jadi bahan diskusi juga..

jangan lupa link sumber beritanya biar gak di bilang hoax, kecuali itu opini atau tulisan ente sendiri emoticon-Malu (S)

ini dapat dari blog dunia militer tapi ane blum bisa cara cantumkan sumbernya ,klo di fesbuk ane bisa,..

Ya tanggapnya tetap susah kalo indonesia mungkin sama negara asean siapa aja mau..begimana dgan vietnam, kamboja?? Singapur, thailand? Brunei , malaysi?? Kayaknya susah juga...

kan ada trit buat latihan posting tho? emoticon-Malu
sumbernya dari blog? kalo blog itu punya siapa?

Itu dispute di Lcs aja, sesama negara asteng klaim nya saling tindih satu sama lain.
Masih jauhhhh itu..

Terus siapa yg "dituakan"
Emang rakyat malay, Spore, Thailand mau di bawah kita? emoticon-Ngakak (S)
Apalagi pinoy jaguh.

Kalau Kambodja, Brunei Darussalam dan Myanmar sih mungkin setuju setuju saja untuk memberikan suaranya buat Indonesia sebagai pemimpin ASEAN. Tapi negara yang modelnya rada Chauvinist model Phil dan Viet apalagi Malaysia pasti keberatan tukh. Gak ada cara lain memang selain menguatkan pengaruh Indonesia di bidang ekonomi dan militer serta kebudayaan di kawasan ASEAN emoticon-Big Grin

model propajanda apa lagi tant yang mau dipake?

Kebudayaan? Lah, kita aja di serang abis-abisan sama Kpop and Jpop.
Viet chauvinist? Baru tau ai. emoticon-Big Grin

Nah, apalagi di tambah rakyat Spore sama Thailand yang "Pride" nya termasuk paling tinggi di asteng.
Kalo untuk seluruh negara asteng, masih jauh bangett.
Palingan defence cooperation dengan beberapa negara doang, yang paling memungkinkan. emoticon-Big Grin
jgn lupakan pinoy,yg merasa bahasa inggrisny paling jaguhemoticon-Ngakak

Viet itu pride dan nasionalisme nya lebih gede daripada Thailand lho emoticon-Big Grin
Tapi ucapan, tingkah laku dan aksi mereka sepadan dengan reputasi dan sejarahnya, so no problemo emoticon-Big Grin Pernah lawan USA, pernah ngehantam Prancis, pernah imbang lawan PLA, pernah menaklukan Kambodja emoticon-Big Grin

Tapi secara umum warga Vietnam itu termasuk humble, pekerja keras dan penuh pengertian kok emoticon-Malu (S)

Wuih ente paham banyak tentang karakter Viet people yahh.
Ai kira viet gag jauh beda sama kita gitu. emoticon-Big Grin

Thanks for the info tant. emoticon-Big Grin