The defense ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) formally launched on Tuesday a hotline designed to provide quick response cooperation in emergency situations, especially in maritime operations.
Formerly known as the ASEAN Direct Communications Link, the ASEAN Direct Communications Infrastructure (ADI) is designed to allow the defense ministers to communicate instantly through the secure hotline.
A statement issued by the ASEAN defense ministers said ADI "will further foster cooperation and diffuse possible misunderstandings among ASEAN member states."
"One of the main characteristics of the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) and the ADMM-PLus that we are proud of is that these meetings go beyond the ministerial platforms for dialogue, and actually serve as mechanisms for practical cooperation," said Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
Lorenzana chaired the two-day ADMM and the ADMM-Plus that ended Tuesday.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
ADMM-Plus includes ASEAN's eight security partners - Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States.
ASEAN defense ministers adopted the ADI during the ADMM in Myanmar in 2014. Brunei initiated the idea of the ADI in 2013 when it chaired the ADMM during that year.
ADI allows ASEAN defense ministers to directly contact his or her counterpart in another ASEAN state during emergencies in land or at sea.
As the highest defense consultative and cooperative mechanism, the ADMM promotes regional peace and stability through dialogue and cooperation.
ASEAN ministers expressed hope that the new communications system will speed up responses to calamities and emergencies in the region.