Last week, Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah paid a much-anticipated visit to Jordan. Though the trip was framed by both sides as a boost for the bilateral relationship more generally, it also spotlighted the ongoing collaboration between the two countries in the defense domain as well.
Diplomatic ties between Brunei and Jordan, two Muslim-majority kingdoms, date back to 1985, and they include collaboration in security ties as well that have continued on this year as well. For instance, Brunei had participated in the Aqaba meetings held by Jordan in April this year that focused on coordinating a more holistic approach to countering terrorism and extremism, including in Southeast Asia.
Last week, the security aspect of the relationship was in the headlines again with the visit of the Sultan of Brunei to Jordan. Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah’s trip to Amman took place from October 3-4, after months of planning between the two sides including details that were released during meetings tied to the UN General Assembly in New York last month.
Bolkiah’s trip included a series of engagements, including talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah and other meetings between senior officials by both sides across various realms. And the focus of the visit was on reviewing the overall bilateral relationship and taking steps to further boost it in the coming years as well amid broader domestic, regional, and global challenges.
The defense aspect of the relationship was a key part of those interactions. According to Jordanian accounts of the visit, both sides reviewed and highlighted the two countries’ already strong defense collaboration, which includes visits, exchanges, and training.
The two countries also discussed some of their common security challenges, with an example being terrorism. They emphasized the importance of a holistic approach to tacking the terrorism challenge, which both nations have been focusing on individually as well, along with broader issues in the Middle East such as the Israel-Palestine issue and the Syrian refugee crisis.
One of the three memoranda of understanding that both sides inked was on defense – with the others covering tourism and infrastructure. Unsurprisingly, few details were publicly disclosed about the specifics of that MOU.
Of course, Bolkiah’s visit is just one data point in the broader evolution of the Jordan-Brunei relationship, albeit a major one. Nonetheless, such interactions will continue to be important to watch to get a sense for the ongoing and future shape of security collaboration between the two sides.