Kuala Lumpur, 5 September 2007 Top military intelligence chiefs from 19 nations gathered here Wednesday for the first time to discuss terrorism, maritime security and disaster relief.
“This is an opportunity for the intelligence chiefs from all these countries to get together to talk about areas of mutual cooperation and how we can go about sharing information for the benefit of all,” said Major General Mohamed Salleh Ismail, Malaysia’s Director General of Defense Intelligence.
“Having to combat these invisible enemies, it becomes crucial for us to cooperate and share intelligence to counter them. Combat readiness to address any security threats requires accurate and reliable intelligence of the enemy,” he told AFP.
The first Asia Pacific Intelligence Chiefs Conference -- conceived and organised by Malaysian and the US -- is chaired by Lieutenant General Michael Maples, director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency.
The chief of Malaysia’s armed forces, General Abdul Aziz Zainal, said in opening remarks that threats from “alienated individuals and militant organisations” were “the new challenges confronting the 21st century.”
Mohamed Salleh called for better cooperation to strengthen security in the Malacca Strait, through which 30% of world trade and half of the world’s energy supply passes.
He also said that lessons learned during the 2004 tsunami, where the military played a crucial role in providing aid, indicated a need for better information systems to better handle humanitarian crises and disaster relief.
Attending the three-day talks are representatives from Australia, Bangladesh, Britain, Brunei, Cambodia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the US and Vietnam.
Organisers said China was invited but opted out at the last minute without giving any reason.