Asean armies must find new ways to combat terrorism, other threats: Singapore's army chief

Singapore's Chief of Army Goh Si Hou said that cooperation between Asean armies is important to combat the threat of terrorism. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Asean armies must continue to find new ways to enhance their collective response to terror and chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) threats, said Singapore's Chief of Army Goh Si Hou at an inaugural Asean workshop on information sharing.

Brigadier-General Goh also stressed in his speech that cooperation between Asean armies is important to combat the threat of terrorism, and the resilience-response-recovery framework could be used to strengthen collective efforts in combating terrorism and CBR threats in the region.

BG Goh was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Asean Armies Information Sharing Workshop (AAISW) on Wednesday (July 4), attended by over 100 delegates. They included Asean army intelligence chiefs, military delegates, experts on terrorism and CBR threats, as well as Home Team officers.

The inaugural workshop, held at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel from Tuesday to Thursday, consisted of two plenary sessions and a roundtable discussion.

At the first plenary session, Commanding General of the Philippine Army, Lieutenant-General Rolando Joselito Delizo Bautista, provided a first-hand account of the lessons learnt by the Philippines army from the Marawi conflict.

Dr Jolene Jerard from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) and Dr Loke Weng Keong from the DSO National Laboratories highlighted recent trends in terrorism and emerging CBR threats in the region at the second plenary session.

Asean army intelligence chiefs also shared their commitment to regional peace, security and stability at the roundtable discussion.

Said Singapore's Assistant Chief of General Staff (Intelligence), Colonel Edward Chen: "The discussions were rich and meaningful, paving the way for further cooperation in the region. I am honoured to be part of this pioneering effort in the region to build up the region's early warning capabilities against terrorism and CBR threats."

The delegates also witnessed a simulation of terrorist attacks, where the Singapore Armed Forces demonstrated its counter-terrorism, as well as chemical, biological, radiological and explosives (CBRE) capabilities, involving segments from the CBRE Defence Group, Special Operations Task Force, and Medical Response Force.

The workshop is one of the key initiatives declared at the 18th Asean Chiefs of Army Multilateral Meeting last year. The annual event serves as a platform for Asean armies to share information and engender practical cooperation in areas of common interests.

Singapore's chairmanship of the Asean Defence Ministers Meeting aims to promote regional counter-terrorism collaboration and build collective defence capabilities against CBR threats in the region.

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