ASEAN Defense Ministers Go on a Retreat

Secretary of National Defense Voltaire T. Gazmin discussed ways to strengthen defense and security cooperation to realize the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC) by 2015 during the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Retreat held on 25 October 2011 in Bali, Indonesia. Chaired by Indonesia's Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro, the meeting witnessed the participation of all ten (10) ASEAN Member States and ASEAN’s Secretary General.

In their retreat, the ministers assessed the initiatives of the ADMM for the past years and exchanged views on possible means to further practical cooperation within the defense sector to realize the APSC by 2015. Secretary Gazmin acknowledged the great progress of the ADMM’s initiatives and encouraged further activities to deepen cooperation and enhance ADMM member states’ individual and collective capability to deal with common defense and security concerns. He proposed practical means to ensure that ADMM initiatives would be fully realized, such as (1) institutionalizing implementing bodies for each initiatives, (2) creating a platform for constant communication within the defense sector, and (3) ensuring continuous policy oversight and issuing strategic guidance to guide the ADMM’s initiatives. These proposals are meant to provide direction to the programs and activities of the ADMM in the succeeding years.

In addition, the defense ministers were also briefed on the recent developments on Thailand’s disaster response and rehabilitation efforts in the aftermath of typhoons Haitang and Nesat. The meeting ended with the hand-over of chairmanship from Indonesia to Cambodia as ADMM’s Chair for next year.

To strengthen the ADMM’s external relations with its counterparts, Indonesia organized an informal meeting between ASEAN ministers and US Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta at the sidelines of the ADMM Retreat. The ASEAN ministers and Secretary Panetta exchanged views on regional security concerns and future practical cooperation between the US and ASEAN. Also at the sidelines of the ADMM Retreat, Secretary Gazmin met with his counterparts from Cambodia, Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia to discuss Cambodia’s ADMM Chairmanship as well as to follow-up on important bilateral defense and security initiatives.

The Defense Ministers also witnessed the Opening Ceremony of the ASEAN Fair, which was presided by HE Dr. H. Susilo Bambang Yuhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia. The event featured the culture and creative economic products of each ASEAN member state and was followed by an air show by the Jupiter Aerobatic Team (JAT) of Indonesia.