Defence diplomacy
In international politics, defence diplomacy refers to the pursuit of foreign policy objectives through the peaceful employment of defence resources and capabilities.

Origin of the Concept

Defence diplomacy as an organizing concept for defence-related international activity has its origin in post-Cold War reappraisals of Western defence establishments, led by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence, and was a principle “used to help the West come to terms with the new international security environment.” While the term originated in the West, the conduct of defence diplomacy is by no means confined to Western countries.

Development of Defence Diplomacy

While there is not yet a broadly accepted definition of defence diplomacy, it can be understood as the peaceful application of resources from across the spectrum of defence, to achieve positive outcomes in the development of a country’s bilateral
Bilateral may refer to any concept including two sides, in particular:*Bilateralism, the political and cultural relations between two states*Bilateral symmetry, symmetry between two sides of an organism...

 and multilateral relationships. "Military diplomacy" is a sub-set of this, tending to refer only to the role of military attachés and their associated activity. Defence diplomacy does not include military operations, but subsumes such other defence activity as international personnel exchanges, ship and aircraft visits, high level engagement (e.g. Ministers and senior defence personnel), bilateral meetings and staff talks, training and exercises, regional defence forums (e.g. Shangri-la Dialogue, Halifax Forum), outreach, confidence and security building measures, and non-proliferation activities.

The United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 identified defence diplomacy as one of the military’s eight defence missions, and aims to “dispel hostility, build and maintain trust and assist in the development of democratically accountable armed forces” to make a “significant contribution to conflict prevention and resolution.” Defence diplomacy is often developed and implemented in close coordination with the foreign and development ministries to ensure coherence and focus across government.

Major General Ng Chee Khern, Air Force Chief of the Republic of Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, summed it up thus: "In defence diplomacy, we seek to develop mutually beneficial relationships with friendly countries and armed forces to contribute to a stable international and regional environment."

Defence diplomacy is often associated with conflict prevention and security sector reform
Security sector reform
Security Sector Reform is a concept to reform or rebuild a state's security sector that emerged first in the 1990s in Eastern Europe. It starts where a dysfunctional security sector is unable to provide security to the state and its people effectively and under democratic principles. Even worse,...

. It is distinct from the concept of gunboat diplomacy
Gunboat diplomacy
In international politics, gunboat diplomacy refers to the pursuit of foreign policy objectives with the aid of conspicuous displays of military power — implying or constituting a direct threat of warfare, should terms not be agreeable to the superior force....

, which is generally understood to be motivated by a desire to intimidate potential adversaries.

External links

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