A Survey of Military Cooperation among ASEAN States: Bilateralism or Alliance?
The question of whether a military/security arrangement binding the ASEAN states, if it is to take place, should be constructed within or outside the formal framework of ASEAN itself remains an open and thorny issue. But the issue itself has received little systematic treatment in the literature on Southeast Asian regional security. This is largely due to two factors: a general unwillingness among policymakers in the ASEAN states to release information on military matters in the name of national security, and second, the political sensitivity surrounding the specific subject of intra-ASEAN military links. As a result, debates on ASEAN security and defence cooperation have been marred by a paucity of reliable information. This paper, based on extensive primary research, is intended to fill the information gap and facilitate efforts by scholars towards more conceptual generalizations on the subject.