Multinational forces hold anti-terror drill

Special forces teams storming a simulated terrorist hideout in buildings during a land operation drill at a training area in Lim Chu Kang yesterday.
Special forces teams storming a simulated terrorist hideout in buildings during a land operation drill at a training area in Lim Chu Kang yesterday.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

At a training area in Lim Chu Kang yesterday, special forces rappelled onto a roof from Super Puma helicopters and stormed a simulated terrorist hideout in buildings.

The land operation drill was carried out by 14 multinational special forces teams, including the Singapore Armed Forces' Special Operations Task Force, and is part of the 11-day Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus Maritime Security and Counter-Terrorism Exercise.

Co-organised by Singapore and Australia, the exercise started on May 2 in Brunei with 18 countries participating.

Speaking to the media after observing the land operation, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said: "In this globalised world where problems can quickly cross boundaries, you can't afford to take a completely nationalistic view and say, 'This doesn't affect my borders now.' Sooner or later, it will and I think it makes more sense to cooperate as a regional bloc for these problems."

The exercise, which also comprised a sea operation on Sunday where task forces intercepted a hijacked merchant vessel, is being held amid simmering tensions in the South China Sea over territorial claims between China and Southeast Asian countries.

Dr Ng said the joint exercise is a positive signal.

"There are disputes in the South China Sea but this is one instance where disputes are put aside and you work together... If your sea lines of communication are disrupted, or if terrorists embed themselves in Asean, it will cause a loss of confidence, affect economic vitality, businesses and, above all, the safety of citizens of Asean countries," the minister said.

About 3,500 personnel, 18 naval vessels, 25 aircraft and 40 special forces teams are taking part in the exercise, which ends on Thursday.

Participants include the 10 Asean nations as well as Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States.

Pang Xue Qiang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2016, with the headline 'Multinational forces hold anti-terror drill'. Print Edition | Subscribe