Prince General officiates BRIDEX Conference
Siti Hajar & Aziz Idris

HIS Royal Highness Prince General Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and General of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF), officiated the opening of the fourth Brunei Darussalam International Defence Exhibition (BRIDEX) Conference 2013 yesterday at the BRIDEX Conference Hall, Jerudong.

The Crown Prince, who is also the General of RBAF, delivered a sabda during the event.

This was followed by Dato Paduka Hj Mustappa bin Hj Sirat, the Deputy Minister of Defence’s welcoming address, whereby he mentioned the relevance of hosting the BRIDEX Conference amidst the backdrop of growing regional and international security challenges.

He feels that the conference is important in addressing some of these challenges, in order to promote dialogue and interaction as the BRIDEX Conference continues to attract practitioners and policy makers in defence, military and security fields together, providing an avenue to keep abreast with the current security concern in the region.

“It is also our hope that this conference will provide us with valuable ideas as we seek to work collectively and contribute to regional and global peace and security,” noted Dato Paduka Hj Mustappa after listing distinguished speakers during the conference who will share their valuable experiences and wisdom.

BRIDEX Conference 2013 features eight high-profile personalities and renowned experts, including two keynote speakers in the opening session yesterday.

Chan Chun Sing, the Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Defence, Singapore delivered a keynote address on ‘Forging a Stronger Regional Security Architecture’.

The second speaker was General Sir David Richards, former Chief of Defence Staff, United Kingdom who delivered the second keynote address on ‘Alliances and Common Defence: A Reflection for Asean’ where he shared his views on NATO.

In the second session, five speakers shared their views on various defence and security issues: Brigadier (Rtd) Vinod Anand, Senior Fellow and Research Coordinator, Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), New Delhi, India; Senior Colonel Zhao Xiaozhuo, Deputy Director, Centre on China-America Defence Relations, Academy of Military Science (AMS), People’s Liberation Army (PLA); Professor Geoffrey Till, Director of the Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies, King’s College London; Richard A Bitzinger, Coordinator of Military Transformations Programme and Senior Fellow, Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore; and Minister B Winid, Undersecretary of State for Security Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Poland.

The conference concluded with a luncheon lecture delivered by General Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Panglima Hj Zulkifli bin Hj Zainal Abidin, Vice-Chancellor National Defence University, Malaysia.

The BRIDEX Conference, conducted biennially by the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (SHHBIDSS) in conjunction with the exhibition, brings people in defence, military and security fields together, providing an avenue for deeper understanding of regional dynamics and security issues of close concern to the region. - Borneo Bulletin (3 December 2013)