The Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) was established in April 1971 against the backdrop of ongoing armed conflicts in the South-east Asia region.
In June 2021, the FPDA—made up of Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom—sent their Defence chiefs to reaffirm their commitment to collaborate in keeping pace with the evolving challenges in the region. Representatives also discussed a 10-year roadmap for greater strategic and defence cooperation to enhance operational interoperability. The FPDA was established as a temporary ‘security fix’ until Malaysia and Singapore had developed their military capabilities but continued through the Cold War and beyond. Over the past 50 years, the FPDA has kept a low profile compared with its contemporaries, such as NATO. However, with tensions increasing in the South China Sea, the FPDA offers a promising security platform that could help stabilise the Southeast Asian region. Furthermore, members’ motivations, relationships with China and the US, and history are the three reasons why the FPDA offers them a better alternative than the Quad.