Exercise Bersama Lima, an annual military exercise between the five nations in the Five Power Defence Arrangements, has concluded. More than 400 Australian Defence Force personnel deployed for two weeks in Malaysia exercising with militaries from Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom. The exercise focused on combined joint operations in a multi-threat environment, with training designed to enhance interoperability and strengthen professional relationships. The Australian Defence Force deployed 400 Australian Defence Force personnel, F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft and C-27J Spartan military transport aircraft; Hobart class guided-missile destroyer HMAS Brisbane; and a company of infantry soldiers from the Australian Army.
Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Greg Bilton AO, CSC, said Australia remains committed to investing in our regional partnerships. “Our contribution to Exercise Bersama Lima underlines Australia’s firm commitment to the Five Power Defence Arrangements, which have provided an anchor for regional stability for over 50 years. The Five Power Defence Arrangements strengthen cooperation and make it easier for our militaries to work together when it matters,” Lieutenant General Bilton said.
The Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) are a series of bilateral defence relationships established by a series of multi-lateral agreements between Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United Kingdom, all of which are Commonwealth members that once belonged to the British Empire. Since its formation, the FPDA has conducted multilateral military exercises involving all five member states with operational command alternating between Singapore and Malaysia.
Signed in 1971, the FPDA consists of the five powers consulting each other “immediately” in the event of threat or an armed attack on any of the FPDA members for the purpose of deciding what measures should be taken, jointly or separately in response. There is no specific commitment to intervene militarily, and the agreement is merely consultative. The Five Powers Defence Arrangements do not refer to exclusive economic zones (EEZ), and the enforcement of a state’s EEZ rights is a matter for that state, which may request the assistance of other states in so doing.