On April 7, ASEAN officially launched a new center for military medicine in Thailand with an opening ceremony in Bangkok.
The ASEAN Center for Military Medicine (ACMM), an idea proposed within the framework of the 18-member ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus), is designed to coordinate military medical operations and support disaster relief in the region (See: “ASEAN Eyes Closer Military Ties in 2015”). It is expected to facilitate regional efforts in the field, including developing joint medical response plans, assessing medical needs in crisis situations, and conducting training courses and research in emergency medical services.
The ACMM will be located on the fourth floor of the Royal Thai Army Military Medical Department building in Bangkok. It will be equipped with facilities including a video conference room as well as secretariats of the 18 members of the ADMM-Plus, which consists of the ten Southeast Asian states along with eight Plus countries – Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, and the United States.
The opening ceremony featured remarks from ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh, Thailand’s deputy prime minister and defense minister Prawit Wongsuwan, and the surgeon-general of the Russian defense ministry who is the co-chair of the ADMM-Plus Experts’ Working Group on Military Medicine. Representatives from the ADMM-Plus countries and other dignitaries also attended the event.
According to a statement issued by the ASEAN Secretariat, Minh said in his remarks that the ACMM, with its specialization on military medical collaboration, would add value to the overall humanitarian assistance and disaster relief framework in the region and complement the work of the ASEAN Coordination Center for Humanitarian Assistance in improving Southeast Asia’s response and coordination mechanisms.
The establishment of ACMM also fulfills one of the actions under the ASEAN Political Security Community (APSC) Blueprint 2025, which was adopted by ASEAN leaders last November during Malaysia’s chairmanship of the regional grouping (See: “ASEAN Creates New Community Under Malaysia’s Chairmanship”).