14 August 2014
China’s high-profile participation in the recently concluded Rim of the Pacific (Rimpac) multinational naval exercise held in Hawaii has been described as a milestone. Equally, this event was also a milestone of sorts for Asean because Brunei participated for the first time.
Two Brunei warships, the offshore patrol vessels KDB Darussalam and KDB Darulaman, were deployed. They successfully conducted their first anti-ship cruise missile firing in the Pacific Missile Range Facility.
Rimpac 2014 is an example of the emergence of the “smaller small” navies of South-east Asian countries such as Brunei, Myanmar and the Philippines.
Like the more notable “Big Five” – Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – which themselves have only small navies in global terms, these relatively unknown “smaller small” navies have taken important steps to enhance their capabilities and international presence. On the whole, this bodes well for Asean.
… The writer is associate research fellow at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University.
This article first appeared in RSIS Commentaries.
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Last updated on 14/08/2014