CYBER-Security was the top agenda during the Asean Regional Forum (ARF) Security Policy Conference (ASPC) that took place at The Empire Hotel & Country Club.
According to the Ministry of Defence’s website, several proposals were put forward at the meeting yesterday, which included, among others, the sharing of best-practices, the conduct of professional exchanges and education on cyber-security, as well as streamlining efforts in enhancing cyber-security between different policy areas.
The ARF member countries include Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, European Union, India, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, United States, and Vietnam.
The primary objectives of the ASPC were to further strengthen cooperation of confidence building measures in military spheres within the framework of the ARF and the participation of defence officials in the ARF; to open new channels of dialogue and exchanges among defence officials, diplomats as well as military academicians; to further increase mutual trust and understanding among the defence officials; and to further improve and substantiate the process of the ARF and keep propelling it forward.
The conference acknowledged the good progress which had been made in defence and military cooperation among ARF members. In upholding the spirit of dialogue and consultation, the conference had an active and constructive exchange of views on the regional and international security situation. A range of traditional and non-traditional security concerns were discussed and deliberated.
The conference also discussed the ways to enhance regional and international efforts towards cyber-security. Several proposals were put forward, which include the sharing of best-practices, the conduct of professional exchanges and education on cyber security, as well as streamlining efforts in enhancing cyber-security between different policy areas.
The conference was chaired by Colonel (Rtd) Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Azmansham bin Pengiran Haji Mohamad, Permanent Secretary (Defence Policy & Development) at the Ministry of Defence, Brunei Darussalam.
In his opening speech, Colonel (Rtd) Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Azmansham said the conference will be discussing the challenges and exploring possible cooperation on regional and international efforts in enhancing cyber-security.
In the speech, he said, he felt this is one of the current and emerging security challenges that all the Asean members share.
He said the ARF has played a strategic role towards the overall security of the Asia-Pacific region, for nearly 20 years.
“Since its inception, we have seen the enhanced dialogue and consultations that becomes the building blocks for confidence building and increased defence and military interactions among member countries.
“This conference has acted as a catalyst for the development of cooperation among members in tune to regional circumstances, and provides the necessary political support that is needed for the implementation of the measures to work effectively.
“The ARF, undeniably, has provided an institutional mechanism that helps instill the habit of cooperation in the region.
“It plays an important role in averting misunderstandings, reducing conflicts and promoting understanding among us through constructive and strategic engagements and interactions,” he said.
“Today, we will have an opportunity to exchange our views on current regional and international security issues,” he added.
He believed this is an important facet of defence relations – one that will develop policies and constructive strategies in overcoming the common security issues and increase cooperation in a collective manner to prepare for a more secure future.
“We will be discussing the challenges and exploring possible cooperation on regional and international efforts in enhancing cyber–security. I feel, this is one of the current and emerging security challenges that all of us share.
“It is indeed timely for us to address this issue as information and communication technology has become one of the key-defining tools of modern nation building. The safe and reliable flow of information is one of the conduits to today’s developments.
“However, at the same time, technological changes are empowering non-state actors like cyber criminals and terrorist networks. Thus, there is an immediate need for us to develop cooperation that will enhance the security of the cyber space, which will benefit our people and nations around the world,” said Colonel (Rtd) Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Azmansham.
- Borneo Bulletin
(24 May 2013)