Brunei-UK bolster defence relations

Friday, May 4, 2012

DEFENCE relations between Brunei Darussalam and the United Kingdom continue to strengthen with the debut participation of the second Battalion of the Royal Gurkha Rifles (2RGR) under the British Armed Forces in the fourth Hikmat Bersatu military exercise.

Hikmat Bersatu, the biggest military exercise organised by the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF), ended yesterday after 11 days of counter-insurgency warfare conducted nationwide.

The final day of the fourth Hikmat Bersatu military exercise was graced by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, Minister of Defence and Supreme Commander of the RBAF.

In an exclusive interview with The Brunei Times, Lieutenant Colonel Fraser Rea, the commanding officer of 2RGR, lauded the success of the military exercise.

"It's the first big exercise in many years where we are able to get together with the RBAF. The exercise has been a real success and it was also a great opportunity to work with the RBAF. We've been fantastically hosted and very well looked after," he said.

Lieutenant Colonel Rea added that the 2RGR appreciated the chance to "train with all the components that the RBAF has, including the helicopters and jungle terrain" during the exercise.

He explained that, through the exercise, both armed forces were able to exchange best practices. With experience from previous tours of duty in Afghanistan, the lessons shared by the 2RGR were apt towards the concept of counter-insurgency warfare adopted for the fourth Hikmat Bersatu.

The commanding officer further conveyed hope to "maintain the momentum and build on the great relationship established, both professionally and at a personal level" with future exercises.

A total of 3,000 personnel from all units of the RBAF, including some 200 soldiers from the 2RGR, took part in the fourth Hikmat Bersatu military exercise. The Brunei Times