LANGKAWI – The inaugural Multinational Counter Terrorism Exercise 2015 which ended here today can be a model for the world on how ASEAN deals with international threats, said Malaysian Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.
He said the exercise, featuring elite police and army personnel from the ASEAN countries and the United Arab Emirates, could be expanded to involve more nations.
“I totally see that (more nations’ involvement in the exercise) happening … it is important for us to realise that what (the terrorism threats) we are facing today is borderless, is using state-of-the art information propaganda through social media on the Internet,” he told reporters after closing the exercise here.
According to him, the rising threat of the Islamic State militant group was among the issues that required a global effort.
“I think it is important to tell the world that we in ASEAN have got our own way (and) our own centrality in dealing with such a (terrorism) threat, though it (the threat) is still complicated,” he said.
Hishammuddin said that transnational entities that came in many forms, ranging from religious extremism to cyber terrorism, were a bigger threat to nation states rather than that coming from each other.
In his speech at the closing ceremony, he said these new dynamics had posed a serious challenge to the operations of the defence communities of nations.
“The present landscape requires that militaries and other security agencies work closely with one another in dealing with issues and challenges,” he said.
He said the exercise was vital towards establishing shared awareness and inter-operability across agencies and nations, while displaying the participating nations’ resolve to engage terrorism at its roots and safeguard human security.
A total of 171 members of the police and army elite squads from all the 10 ASEAN countries and the UAE took part in the eight-day exercise which started on March 13, coinciding with the ongoing Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2015 (LIMA’15). – BERNAMA