May 19, 2011

ASEAN countries agree to increase defence industry cooperation


Jakarta - Defence ministers from the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreed Thursday to strengthen cooperation in the military industry sector to reduce reliance for weapons on outside sources.

'There is an urgent need for ASEAN member states to strengthen defence industrial and technological capabilities,' Indonesian Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said at the end of the meeting.

'Our collaboration will provide opportunities to promote technological sharing based on the principle of flexible, voluntary and non-binding participation,' he added.

ASEAN countries spend a total of 25 billion dollars annually on defence equipment and a regional military industry collaboration could reduce the cost to 12.5 billion dollars per year by 2030, Malaysian Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.

'Defence equipment trade among ASEAN countries could be an embryo for the creation of an ASEAN defence industry that is strong and independent,' he said on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Ahmad said such collaboration could involve joint ventures between government and private companies, equity participation and technology transfers.

Yusgiantoro said Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, all ASEAN members, had established defence industries, but the region remained a net importer of weapons.

Yusgiantoro said threats such as terrorism, piracy, illegal migration and energy scarcity were all important reasons for ASEAN to strengthen internal cooperation.

'All these challenges are expected to increase in intensity in the future and will entail the involvement of the defence sector,' he said in a speech opening the conference.

Yusgiantoro also said the ministers agreed on an Indonesian and Thai proposal for a regional network of peacekeeping centres as part of efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region.

The network will facilitate cooperation in peacekeeping and conduct planning, training and exchange of knowledge with the aim of developing a regional arrangement, Yusgiantoro said.

Other ASEAN members are Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam.

No comments:

Post a Comment