Channel NewsAsia

Call for interaction, open dialogue among militaries for greater peace

Bold interaction, open dialogue and training together professionally. These were some suggestions Second Minister for Defence Chan Chun Sing gave to defence and security professionals around the globe in order to build a more peaceful environment for all.

SINGAPORE: Bold interaction, open dialogue and training together professionally.

These were some suggestions Second Minister for Defence Chan Chun Sing gave to defence and security professionals around the globe in order to build a more peaceful environment for all.

Mr Chan was speaking at the opening of the Asia Pacific Security Conference in Singapore on Monday.

The one-day conference brings together senior policy makers, military leaders and academic experts who will exchange views on enhancing regional stability and peace.

Mr Chan said that Asia spent more on defence than Europe for the first time last year and this trend is set to continue.

But he also cautioned that the challenge for more advanced military platforms is to reduce the potential for miscalculations.

He added that countries need wise and strong leaders who appreciate there is more to gain from cooperation than conflict.

Mr Chan said: "We also need courageous leaders who do not succumb to domestic pressures or nationalistic pursuits against the greater good of the region including seeking to right historical wrongs, and perceived wrongs, when the conditions are still premature.

"We need leaders who do not succumb to the notion that might is right. That the mightier one may be, the more circumspect one may be in using one's might. The mark of a powerful country is not how it is able to use its might to get its way. The mark of a truly powerful country is how it is able to restrain itself and not have to use its might to get its way and yet convince others to come along its side."

Mr Chan's comments come amid a diplomatic row between Singapore and Indonesia, following Jakarta's recent decision to name a navy ship after two Indonesian marines who bombed the MacDonald House in Singapore in 1965 that left three people dead and 33 hurt.

Separately, Indonesia's Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro played down the row. He told Channel NewsAsia that the row will not harm bilateral defence cooperation.

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