The National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP) hosted the Track II Network of ASEAN Defence and Security Institutions (NADI) Workshop on “ASEAN Centrality in an Era of Great-Power Competition” on 16-17 December 2021 via video teleconferencing. This is the first time NDCP hosted the workshop since Dr Archimedes H Viaje MNSA CESE was appointed as NDCP President in November 2019.
Established as a Track II “think tank group to support the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM),” NADI is a “useful forum for policy analysts specializing in defence and security issues, academics researching security cooperation and defence officials to discuss issues of defence and security cooperation including those that the ASEAN Summit and ASEAN Defence Ministers have raised.” In NADI activities, participants discuss issues and ideas in their personal capacities so that they can go beyond their official country positions and suggest relevant inputs and policy recommendations.
During the workshop, representatives discussed how the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) and the international rule of law played a critical role in promoting cooperation within and outside ASEAN. The participants also exchanged views on great-power competition and the emergence of new security-oriented multilateral platforms such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) and the Australia-United Kingdom-United States Security Partnership (AUKUS).
The participants also exchanged ideas on how ASEAN could improve regional peace and stability through the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC) while considering its interaction with major global powers. Presentations on economic rivalries were also delivered during the workshop. Participants tackled the role of ASEAN centrality vis-à-vis national economic interests of each ASEAN member-state. NADI representatives agreed that there was a need to enhance cooperation among member-states and strengthen ASEAN’s internal cohesion.
The 2021 workshop is the sixth NADI activity hosted by NDCP. The College, in partnership with the AFP Office for Strategic Studies and Strategy Management (OSSSM), previously hosted five other NADI activities, namely: 1) 2014 Workshop on “Regional Maritime Rules of Engagement: Towards Enhancing Regional Harmony and Promoting Rules-Based Maritime Interaction”; 2) 2017 10th Annual Meeting; 3) 2017 Workshop on “Marine Environmental Protection”; 4) 2017 3rd Retreat; and 5) 2019 Workshop on “Strengthening Defence Diplomacy: Challenges and Prospects of ADMM.”
Participation in NADI activities is part of NDCP’s thrust to conduct international defense and security engagement.