SINGAPORE: Members of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) agreed on Friday (Jun 2) to enhance the grouping’s observers programme for non-members to become more involved.
The decision was made at the 10th FPDA Defence Ministers’ Meeting hosted by Singapore. The other member countries of the multilateral security platform are Malaysia, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
The FPDA's observers programme has been a way for countries who are not members of the FPDA to witness military exercises conducted by the grouping. Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries, for example, have previously sent observers to the drills.
Members of the defence platform agreed to enhance this aspect in the spirit of promoting the grouping’s transparency.
They also pledged support for the FPDA’s continued efforts to enhance the operational value of its exercises, and to maintain its strategic relevance in the current security architecture.
The Ministers’ Meeting was attended by Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne, Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, New Zealand Defence Minister Mark Mitchell and British High Commissioner to Singapore Scott Wightman.
The leaders affirmed the vital confidence-building role that the grouping plays as well as discussed regional developments and current security challenges, noting that the FPDA has been an integral part of the regional security architecture.
The meeting, which is the apex decision-making platform of the FPDA, is held every three years with Singapore and Malaysia taking turns to host it.