S'pore can help battle terror by 'sharing info with others in Asean'

Singapore can help fight regional terrorism by doing more to share information and intelligence with the other Asean states, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen yesterday at the Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM).

It should also share resources and conduct joint operations where possible, he told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting in Vientiane.

Elaborating on Facebook last night, Dr Ng posted: "If the ideology of terrorist groups like ISIS is allowed to take root among our people or, worse still, if training camps proliferate in any one of Asean countries, then the whole region will be thrown into turmoil for decades. Our economies, our peaceful way of life will be seriously threatened."

The meeting in the Laotian capital will go on till tomorrow. First held in Kuala Lumpur in 2006, it has helped to facilitate dialogue among defence ministers, as well as practical cooperation among the armed forces of Asean countries.

At this year's edition, Dr Ng and his regional counterparts also discussed tensions in the South China Sea and the importance of mechanisms that can prevent them from escalating, said the Ministry of Defence. They signed a joint declaration to boost defence cooperation in the region which includes working to combat terrorism, as well as abiding by protocols such as the Code for Unplanned Encounter at Sea to avoid misunderstandings.

EARLY INTERVENTION

If the ideology of terrorist groups like ISIS is allowed to take root among our people or, worse still, if training camps proliferate in any one of Asean countries, then the whole region will be thrown into turmoil for decades. Our economies, our peaceful way of life will be seriously threatened. ''

DEFENCE MINISTER NG ENG HEN, in a Facebook post.

States also reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and upholding freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

Dr Ng expressed satisfaction with how much the ADMM has achieved in 10 years.

"We had... gone beyond just having dialogues. We had been involved in multilateral exercises on a large scale," he said.

While in Laos, Dr Ng met his Malaysian counterpart, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, as well as the Philippine Secretary of National Defence Voltaire Gazmin, to reaffirm bilateral ties.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 26, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore can help battle terror by 'sharing info with others in Asean''. Print Edition | Subscribe