Navy chiefs pledge to tackle maritime challenges together
Navy chiefs of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) yesterday vowed to jointly tackle maritime challenges and maintain tight relations ahead of the Asean Community.
Supreme Commander and National Council for Peace and Order deputy chief Tanasak Patimapragorn, centre, presides over the opening of the 8th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Navy Chiefs' Meeting which began yesterday and ends today. Pawat Laopaisarntaksin
The agreement was made at the 8th Asean Navy Chiefs' Meeting.
Supreme Commander Tanasak Patimapragorn said Asean navies had to be ready to enter the Asean community by cooperating in related frameworks, including working together to deal with specific incidents in the region, particularly natural disasters and piracy.
Gen Tanasak said that Thailand and Malaysia had been hosting the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) drills every year.
"The HADR forces play significant roles in humanitarian and disaster relief. The Asean member states were assigned to work in the areas in which they specialise.
"For Thailand, we provide military doctors,'' he said.
"For Asean navies, we are like a family as we communicate in the same language, which is the military language," Gen Tanasak added.
Navy commander Narong Pipatthanasai said after the meeting he was satisfied with the discussion and all members pledged to promote regional peace and security.
"Thailand proposed to host the first Asean naval drill along with a naval march to celebrate 50 years of Asean in 2017," Adm Narong said.
During the meeting, the Malaysian navy chief suggested inviting countries outside Asean to join future meetings.
The Philippine navy chief proposed the drafting of an operations manual for rescue teams in case of maritime disasters.
All proposals raised will be discussed further, Adm Narong said.
"Beside the fruitful discussion, our Asean navy friends can also see the situation in Thailand.
"We are living in peace with no threat or any problems that could disrupt our tourism growth," he said.
Laos was the only Asean member state not to attend the meeting.