Indonesia to propose ASEAN intelligence sharing to track militants

(From left) Indonesia's Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu Malaysia's Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and Philippines's Secretary of National Defence Delfin Lorenzana launch the Trilateral Air Patrol at the Royal Malaysian Air Force base on Oct 12, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - Indonesia will propose a broad intelligence-sharing initiative among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to deal with the rising threat of radical Islamist militants, its defence minister said on Thursday (Oct 12).

Unrest in the southern Philippines has unsettled neighbours Malaysia and Indonesia, as the three countries grapple with the possible rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group aided by local militants who have declared allegiance with the group.

Indonesian Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacuda said he would propose an "Our Eyes" initiative at the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) in the Philippines this month.

"Be it maritime, air or intelligence... we will fine-tune this when we have deliberations and discussions at the ADMM," he told a news conference at the launch of air patrols between Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

The patrols are part of a multi-pronged initiative involving the three countries - which also includes maritime patrols and intelligence sharing - aimed at plugging porous borders around the Sulu Sea where militant groups aligned with the ISIS are active.

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