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‘Nationalism key to defence reforms’: Hun Manet seeks to strengthen military

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times Share:
Royal Cambodian Army chief Lieutenant General Hun Manet adjusts the helmet of a 911 Paratrooper Special Brigade soldier during a ceremony in Phnom Penh. The brigade has been incorporated into the RCA’s Special Forces Command. Facebook

Military reforms in the Kingdom should be grounded on “nationalism”. This was the statement made by Royal Cambodian Army Commander Lieutenant General Hun Manet on Wednesday as the Paratrooper Brigade 911 was upgraded to become one of the units under the elite Special Forces Command of the RCA.

The move was done in a bid to strengthen the capacities of the armed forces in fulfilling its duty of protecting the legitimate government and national security.

Speaking during the official ceremony, Lt Gen Manet, who is also deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, said the upgrade was a recognition of the brigade’s trustworthy character, abilities, willingness and commitment to carry out the tasks of the Cambodian army.

Paratrooper Brigade 911 is currently under the command of Lieutenant General Chap Pheakdey, who is also the RCA deputy commander. It joined the RCA after Defence Minister General Tea Banh, in 2018, issued a directive for the transfer of five RCAF special units to the RCA under the jurisdiction of Lt Gen Manet who, at the time, had just been appointed as the new commander.

“Military reforms must be based on nationalism. Foremost, the reforms must maintain the spirit of patriotism and defend the nation, religion and the King,” Lt Gen Manet said as quoted in the minutes of the meeting obtained yesterday.

In addition, he said the armed forces must ensure the capacity of military equipment and training programme.

“The vision of the Royal Cambodian Army in reform is to train step-by-step, especially when it comes to professional military training,” he said referring to the instruction made by Prime Minister Hun Sen during last year’s 20th anniversary of the establishment of the RCA.

In his speech at that time, Mr Hun Sen called on the army to readily defend the Kingdom’s sovereignty, political stability and social order, while continuing steadfastly to implement the policy of the people’s national defence.

“Let me affirm again that the armed forces shall wait for no command to quell what they see as illegal and unconstitutional and those that are aimed at pulling down the state,” said the premier. “All units and divisions in the armed forces must take action. It is better to have few casualties than to lose the lives of tens of thousands, or even millions, of people as in the past.”

In conjunction with the upgrading event, Lt Gen Manet also opened the ceremony for Disaster Relief Technical Training, which he said was vital for the Kingdom’s security.

The official announcement ceremony of the advancement of the Paratrooper Brigade 911 to be one of the Special Forces units. Facebook

“I would like to thank Samdech Techo Prime Minister for his direct efforts as well as the National Committee for Disaster Management for giving high priority to the organisation of forces, strength training and providing equipment for disaster relief work,” he said.

He noted that aside from pursuing national defence policies, the military must also be active in partaking with humanitarian operations.

“All institutions and units, as well as the entire national armed forces, must keep the  national spirit, will, conscience and patriotism, and absolutely protect the country’s hard-earned peace and our people,” said Lt Gen Manet.

In another event in Kampong Speu province, Gen Banh said his ministry still considers training to be the top priority for enhancing human resource capacity in the defence sector.

Gen Banh also called for the protection of the monarchy and the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the active participation with competent ministries and institutions in safeguarding peace.

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