‘Teamwork key to exercise success’
THE maritime security and counter-terrorism exercise, co-hosted by Brunei and Singapore, is a testament to the strong cooperation between the 18 participating nations.
Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) Joint Force Commander Brigadier General (U) Dato Seri Pahlawan Hj Hamzah Hj Sahat, who served as the sultanate’s exercise co-director, said all the countries were able to cooperate despite the large-scale nature of the multilateral training.
“That is one of the biggest achievements... Everybody was working together, especially in the most complex operation involving the special forces,” he said.
Coordinated under the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Plus framework, the exercise is among the largest in the region with over 3,000 personnel and 17 warships deployed from the 10-nation bloc and its dialogue partner countries.
The training kicked off in Brunei on May 2 and will conclude in Singapore on May 12 following a sea phase en route to the island city-state.
During the initial harbour phase in the sultanate, Special Forces from 11 participating nations demonstrated the seize and rescue of a hijacked ship over a fictional trade passage, showcasing their ability to interoperate in complex scenarios.
“It is already a testament to one of the successes in meeting the exercise objectives,” said Brigadier General (U) Dato Hj Hamzah.
Commenting on Brunei’s hosting of the exercise together with Singapore, he said it proved they are on par with other big countries in terms of organising exercises of a large-scale.
He noted it was also a reflection of their professionalism, a key tenet of the armed forces.
“That is something we hope to maintain, if anything, we want to improve in the future,” he said, adding the training served as a platform to exchange best practices.
He further claimed the ADMM Plus Maritime Security and Counter-Terrorism Exercise was a “significant turning point” in defence cooperation between Brunei and Singapore towards bolstering their longstanding bilateral ties.
“I’m a strong believer in a strong rapport with your counterpart to ensure the running of a big exercise, such as this, goes smoothly,” he said.
According to Brigadier General (U) Dato Hj Hamzah, the success of the current exercise mirrored the achievements of the ADMM Plus Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief and Military Medicine Exercise, previously co-hosted by Brunei and Singapore in 2013.
The Brunei Times