Armed Forces of Argentina and Chile Bolster Ties at Bilateral Meeting
By Dialogo July 13, 2015
Military representatives from Argentina and Chile bolstered ties between the two countries when they met during a recent bilateral meeting.
They gathered in Santiago from June 15-19 for the XV Bilateral Meeting of the Army Staff Offices of Chile and Argentina to “discuss topics of mutual interest and exchange experiences on their views of the professional sphere” the Chilean Army International Relations Directorate told Diálogo -- in particular, to discuss training approaches for Soldiers learning to to provide public safety for civilian populations. The meeting was also held to establish “a cooperation program between the two Armies for 2016, with a view to generating new agreements and initiatives.”
Chile's delegation was led by International Relations Director Brigadier General Juan González and included 25 high-ranking officers, including the director of the National Military College; meanwhile, the Argentinian group was led by Army Brigadier General Carlos Alberto Podio, and included five colonels and a lieutenant colonel.
During the meeting, Military officials from the two countries created several Bilateral Working Groups (GTBs), which worked out understandings and treaties on a range of topics, including:
best practices to communicate and verify functions and control between the Armed Forces of the two countries;
increasing cooperation between the Chilean Army Combined Arms Units (UACs) and Argentina’s Large Battle and Combat Units;
managing their contingents of reserve Soldiers; and
increasing intelligence functions in support of civil protection operations (in response to natural disasters and other catastrophes).
The two countries also agreed to conduct various Engineering Corps exchanges and apprenticeships involving both Armies.
“The exchange of knowledge and experiences between the two neighboring Armies allows us to enrich and deepen our professional knowledge on topics...faced by the Armed Forces of the two countries,” the Chilean International Relations Directorate reported, adding that it also creates opportunities for “joint projects that reduce costs and need to employ fewer people for a specific task.”
Additionally, they established planning protocols for the Civil Protection Operation Joint Exercises, which is known as ANDES. The purpose of ANDES is to train Troops to conduct search and rescue patrols in mountains and in extreme climate zones. Argentina and Chile have been engaging in joint exercises to improve natural disaster response training since 2001. For example, in October 2014, Chile and Argentina participated in a simulation of a natural catastrophe in the city of Valdivia as part of their “Solidarity Exercise 2014.”
The meeting also strengthened ties between the Argentine Army’s War College (ESG) and the Chilean Army’s War Academy (ACAGUE). Officials from both Military colleges agreed to study their respective master’s programs for future officer exchanges.
“These periodic meetings bring our visions together regarding the global, regional and bilateral realities,” said Juan Belikow, a foreign affairs, defense and international security professor at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, adding that the Mutual Confidentiality Measures (MCMs) they've established “have been key to creating trust between the Armies of Argentina and Chile.”
One example of this cooperation is the Joint Combined Peace Force known as Southern Cross, which is a Brigade composed of Armed Forces personnel from both countries that is at the disposal of the United Nations. Southern Cross is the result of an MCM.
Such joint Military operations are crucial in the fight against regional concerns such as transnational criminal organizations. Bilateral and Multilateral relationships and combined training events such as those promoted by the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) are key to effectively countering shared threats. According to Belikow, “Transnational organized crime organizations are looking today for a south-south route to enter northern countries, leaving through Africa and Asia...thanks to the effective efforts of SOUTHCOM and the cooperation of the region’s Armed Forces, the north-south route is now more difficult.”