What’s in the First Brunei-Jordan Joint Defense Meeting?

A notable first spotlighted some of the ongoing activity in the bilateral defense relationship.

Prashanth Parameswaran
What’s in the First Brunei-Jordan Joint Defense Meeting?
Credit: MINDEF Singapore

On the morning of April 24, Brunei and Jordan held the first iteration of their joint defense committee meeting. Apart from constituting a landmark development for the relationship, the holding of the meeting also spotlighted the ongoing collaboration between the two countries in the defense domain more specifically as well.

While diplomatic ties between Brunei and Jordan, two Muslim-majority kingdoms, date back to 1985, the defense aspect of collaboration has been slower to develop relative to some of the other realms of the relationship. Nonetheless, both sides had maintained some aspects of defense collaboration, with areas such as visits and exchanges as well as some collaboration on functional issues such as countering terrorism and violent extremism.

A key inflection point for the defense relationship came last October, when, during Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah’s visit to Jordan, the two sides inked a new memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation as one of three agreements signed during the trip. Though not much in the way of specifics was publicly disclosed about the nature of the MOU, both sides had indicated that this could lead to more formalized security cooperation in the coming years.

This week, the defense aspect of the relationship was in the spotlight again with the holding of the first-ever Brunei-Jordan joint committee meeting. The defense ministry of Brunei and the Jordanian Armed Forces conducted their Joint Committee Meeting (JCM) at the Officers’ Mess, Bolkiah Garrison, at Brunei’s defense ministry (MINDEF) on the morning of April 24.

The inaugural Brunei-Jordan JCM was co-chaired by Brunei’s director of the directorate of defense policy, Haji Adi Ihram bin Dato Paduka Haji Mahmud, and Jordan’s visiting director of planning and organization, Abdallah Hasan Abdallah Al-Huneiti. Per MINDEF, during the meeting, both sides discussed various ways to boost defense ties, including in areas such as exchange of visits, training and courses, and military exercises. They also shared their views on other areas of mutual concern, which remained unspecified.

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Apart from the holding of the inaugural JCM, Abdallah also had a series of other defense-related interactions as well during his visit to Brunei. In terms of meetings, he met with various officials in Brunei including the permanent secretary of the defense ministry and the commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF). Those meetings provided an opportunity to discuss some of the specifics within the defense relationship further, such as military ties between the RBAF and the Jordanian Armed Forces, including in areas such as exercises and visits.

Unsurprisingly, not much in the way of details were publicly disclosed about the private deliberations between the two sides. And to be sure, the holding of the first Brunei-Jordan JCM is just one data point in the broader evolution of the Jordan-Brunei defense relationship, albeit a major one. Nonetheless, such interactions will continue to be important to watch amid the wider trend of deepening formalized security cooperation between the two countries.