LANGKAWI: There is a need to avoid an unnecessary arms race in the Asia Pacific region, says Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.
“It is important to ensure that our spending is truly for what we need and for the defence of our nations.
“I want to again stress that Malaysia believes that all disputes, including those in this region, must be settled peacefully, through diplomacy and via multilateral platforms such as Asean,” he said after launching the Chief of Navy Roundtable Talks 2017 at Lima 2017 yesterday.
He said the ministry was looking at purchasing multi-role combat and maritime patrol aircraft for geopolitical considerations of the region, adding that the RMAF and navy had to decide on the suitable models.
“The Finance Ministry will then have to determine whether we can afford it,” he said.
On the special meeting with representatives from Indonesia, Qatar, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey on Tuesday, Hishammuddin said the talk focused on dealing with the Islamic State (IS) terror threat.
“For example, we agreed that to deal with IS, we need to tackle its propaganda with counter-narrative approach,” he said.
Later at the Air Chiefs Conference, Hishammuddin called for cooperation of all defence counterparts to face “common enemies” during uncertain times.
“We all have differences and our priorities but we also have common enemies.
“Whether or not (we are) united, it does not allow us to have time for petty squabbles and geopolitical considerations,’’ he added.
Hishammuddin also officially took delivery of the fourth and final A400M military transport aircraft for the RMAF from Airbus.