Is Asean a military alliance?
Having no common enemies, actual or potential, Asean is not a military alliance or a defence pact, although individual members are free to enter into military arrangements with other countries provided that they do not threaten the security of neighbors. Nevertheless, for many years, defence ministers, armed forces chiefs, and the head of the military services and intelligence agencies have been in close contact with another. Security and defence officials take part in the Asean Region Forum. Regional armed forces units have been increasing their cooperation in such civil endeavors as disaster relief and search and rescue. Security authorities have been cooperating in anti-terrorism efforts. In May 2006, a new Asean defence ministers’ forum convened its inaugural meeting. This week, Thailand also hosts the Asean defence ministers’ forum in Pattaya. As an association, Asean does not conduct peacekeeping operations. However, several of its members take part in the UN peace keeping operat