New Zealand military readies for multinational drills in SE Asia

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016-4-13 10:04:58

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is to take part in air and maritime exercises with Southeast Asian nations over the next three weeks.

An air force P-3K2 Orion aircraft and up to 38 NZDF personnel would take part in the exercises in the South China Sea, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and the Philippines, Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, Major General Tim Gall said Wednesday.

"Our participation provides an opportunity to enhance our ability to operate alongside partner nations in Southeast Asia as our people will be conducting operations in a multinational environment," Gall said in a statement.

"It also reflects our long-term engagement in the region."

The first activity would be Exercise Bersama Shield 2016, a Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) event involving Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Britain.

"The exercise involves planning and conducting air and maritime operations in the South China Sea and mainland Malaysia in a simulated multi-threat environment for the defense of Malaysia and Singapore," Gall said.

"The NZDF commitment to the FPDA is strong and our ability to operate alongside FPDA partner nations is critical to successfully providing security in the Southeast Asian region."

Formed in 1971, the FPDA is one of the longstanding multilateral arrangements in Southeast Asia.

Exercise Bersama Shield, hosted by Malaysia from April 17 to 29, would involve more than 2,000 personnel, four ships and around 50 aircraft from the FPDA member nations.

Following Bersama Shield, the New Zealand air force Orion and supporting contingent would hold joint exercises with the Philippine Air Force.

The NZDF would also take part in the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) Maritime Security and Counter-Terrorism exercise in Brunei and Singapore from May 2 to 10.

The ADMM-Plus exercise would involve the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries plus Australia, China, Japan, India, South Korea, Russia and the United States.

The aim of the exercise was to promote practical military cooperation between member nations and enhance their ability to operate jointly when responding to maritime threats.

Posted in: Asia-Pacific

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