LANGKAWI, 18 March 2015 – The ASEAN Defence Ministers have pledged to elevate regional defence cooperation to new heights consistent with the realisation of ASEAN Community 2015. This strong commitment was made at the 9th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) held in Langkawi, Malaysia on 16 March, which was chaired by H.E. Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Minister of Defence of Malaysia and attended by all Defence Ministers and the Secretary-General of ASEAN. The Meeting concluded with the Defence Ministers signing a Joint Declaration on Maintaining Regional Security and Stability for and by the People.

The main outcomes of the ADMM this year will contribute effectively to the overall ASEAN cooperation on disaster relief and humanitarian assistance (HADR). H.E. Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN, emphasised that “the work of the ADMM is crucial in contributing towards a more united and effective HADR response when a disaster strikes the region.” The Ministers adopted the Concept Papers on ASEAN Militaries Ready Group on HADR and the Establishment of the ASEAN Centre of Military Medicine.

The Ministers also endorsed the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the Utilisation of Military Assets for HADR under the Framework of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER). This SOP will be a contribution to the existing SOP for Regional Standby Arrangements and Coordination of Joint Disaster Relief and Emergency Response Operations (SASOP).

On external engagement, the Ministers adopted the Guidelines to Respond to Requests for Informal Engagements or Meetings by the ADMM-Plus Countries.

In their discussions, the Defence Ministers noted that the current regional security landscape characterised by non-traditional security challenges remained a common regional concern. Issues such as natural disasters, maritime security, major power rivalry and the rise of violence and brutality committed by extremist organisations and radical groups in Iraq and Syria were highlighted.

The Defence Ministers and the Secretary-General of ASEAN paid a courtesy call on YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia and witnessed the opening ceremony of the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) 2015 on 17 March 2015.

Please click here for the full text of the Joint Declaration.