SE Asia terror frontline warning: Payne

Australia and South East Asia defence ministers have met to discuss cooperating to stop terrorism in the region following the Philippines insurgency.

Islamic State's near defeat in the Middle East increases the terrorism risk for Australia and the Asian region, a meeting of defence ministers has heard.

Stopping South East Asia becoming "a new frontline" for terrorism as foreign fighters head there was a focus of the first sub-regional defence ministers’ meeting on counter-terrorism in Perth.

Defence Minister Marise Payne met with her counterparts from Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand and Indonesia.

The Philippines endured the bloody five-month long Marawi insurgency involving ISIS-affiliated fighters last year.

"Marawi was a clarion call for decisive measures to deal with and anticipate new threats in our region," Ms Payne told reporters.

"Foremost among those must be stopping terrorism groups from expanding their global franchise."

Militants in Marawi used similar and, in some cases enhanced, tactics and techniques to their Middle East Islamic State counterparts and communicated with them, she said.

That could include appalling atrocities such as the use of innocent men, women and children as human shields or sowing misleading views about society and Islam on social media.

"With the destruction of the so-called, proclaimed caliphate by Daesh (IS) there is the potential for returning foreign fighters coming back to this region," Ms Payne said.

"There are many who are battle hardened, highly experienced, filled with a fairly perverse ideology that led them to engage in their activities."

The seven countries would work together to make sure they were aware of such people coming to the region and how best to prevent attacks or defend themselves, she said.

Other examples of collaboration would be the Australian military sharing its knowledge of engaging ISIS in Iraq, the Philippines forces doing the same about Marawi, training exercises as already occurred between Australian and Filipino troops and maritime patrols.

Source AAP

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch