U.S. Army –
DHAKA, Bangladesh —The largest land forces conference in the Indo-Pacific came to a close with participants expressing optimism for continued peace and stability in the region.
From September 12-15, 2022, senior army leaders gathered here for the Indo-Pacific Armies Management Seminar (IPAMS), this year hosted by the Bangladesh Army and annually co-hosted by United States Army Pacific.
“The fact that 24 nations came together to share ideas, build relationships, and even express concerns about the security and prosperity of the world’s most consequential region, sends a powerful message of unity and collective commitment,” U.S. Army Pacific’s Gen. Charles A. Flynn told a closing ceremony audience.
The theme of this year’s conference was “Prospects and Challenges in Maintaining Peace and Security in the Indo-Pacific.” Delegates from various armies participated in plenary sessions, working groups, team building and conducted lively discussions all with the intent of challenging senior officers to work together, form relationships and think outside the box to solve the common issues of this vast and unique region.
“Our journey to peace does not end here. It’s just the beginning,” said Bangladesh Chief of Army Gen. Shafuiddin said in his closing remarks. “Whatever ideas and views we have developed in this seminar need wider communication for furthering our efforts.
In his opening remarks, Gen. Flynn told the delegation “We are here today because this community of nations believes in the promise of peace and stability — but peace and stability only come when we have security in our homelands. Each of us here today have a responsibility — a mandate from our governments — to defend our homeland, to secure our nation’s sovereignty,” said Flynn.
The general also challenged the assembled land force leaders that by soldiers operating on the ground and in the human domain, is what makes armies special and different from other armed services.
“Land power is unique — it’s the force that binds together the region’s security architecture. The relationships we build when working together on the ground in training, in exercises, in exchanges, in conferences like this one, grows the bonds between our nations.”
Cultivating those bonds and relationships is the hallmark of this conference. For 46 years, the objective of IPAMS has been to promote peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region through mutual understanding, dialogue and friendship. IPAMS provides all participants a unique opportunity to discuss the Indo-Pacific region’s security issues and to exchange ideas on issues of mutual concern.
“It is together that we face the challenges in front of us. It is together that we will continue to solve the security challenges in this region. It is together that we will continue to maintain the peace and stability in this community of nations,” said the U.S. commander.
In addition to the discussions and relationship opportunities, delegates were invited to tour one of the many humanitarian camps housing Muslim Rohingya refugees in the vicinity of Cox’s Bazar. More than one million Rohingya have been living in Bangladesh camps for five years, fleeing their native Myanmar due to ethnic persecution. Recently, they have been campaigning for a return across the border, but only if security measures are guaranteed.
With close to 40 nations comprising its make-up, the Indo-Pacific region covers more than half of the earth’s surface featuring six of the most populated countries in the world. The region is inclusive of over 3,000 languages and dialects, and poses some of the most pressing security challenges ranging from terrorism to natural disasters. Seven of the world’s 10 largest armies are in the region where border disputes and sovereignty concerns are headline events.
As is customary to conclude every IPAMS, the conference flag was passed from this year’s host to next year’s host. The 47th iteration of IPAMS will take place in India, where it will share the stage with the bi-annual Indo-Pacific Army Chiefs Conference.