by Teo Eng Dih
Deputy Secretary (Policy)
Ministry of Defence, Singapore
The Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) are a series of defence relationships and agreements established by Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. Formed in 1971 following the termination of the Anglo-Malayan Defence Agreement, the original intent of the FPDA was to safeguard Malaysia and Singapore from Indonesian encroachment in the wake of their earlier ‘Confrontation’ and to push back against communist influence in the region. Under the arrangements, the members are required to consult one another immediately in light of an armed attack on any of the five nations in order to decide what action should be taken, both jointly and separately.
Whilst the threat landscape in the Indo-Pacific has altered significantly since the FPDA’s origins in the Cold War, it remains an important element of regional security architecture. It holds a series of air, sea, land and command post exercises each year with a view to building interoperability, establishing enduring relations, and preparing for the necessary application of force.
This essay takes a snapshot look at the FPDA on its 50th anniversary and examines its foundations for success.
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