Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has been to see the resident infantry battalion and its supporting elements at Brunei Garrison in Seria while in the region attending the Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore. Mr Fallon is the first UK Defence Secretary to visit Brunei in 18 years.
The visit included a capability demonstration and a tour, during which the Defence Secretary formally opened the newest accommodation block, which contains 32 flats.
Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, said:
This block of flats is just one element of a much larger programme of work, agreed between the governments of the UK and Brunei, and funded by His Majesty The Sultan, to provide new facilities for the UK personnel based here.
The programme will deliver huge improvements to the domestic and technical facilities available to our Armed Forces and will allow soldiers to vacate their former premises and move to modern, purpose-built accommodation.
Mr Fallon also enjoyed lunch with Gurkha families, a poignant visit during the bicentenary of Gurkha service to the Crown.
The UK has traditionally enjoyed close ties with Brunei, based on a shared history, royal connections and a strong defence relationship. The UK has had a large Loan Service contingent, serving with the Royal Brunei Armed Forces since 1962, and the Defence Secretary’s visit is the first to be made by a UK Secretary of State for Defence since 1997.
Michael Fallon, said:
We have a longstanding defence relationship with Brunei and I was pleased to see first hand the strengths and capabilities of 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles, stationed in country. The renewed Garrison arrangements will enhance our defence co-operation with Brunei, opening up new opportunities to work together in the Asia region.
There are currently a small number of personnel from the Garrison in Brunei making up the Gurkha deployment supporting UK efforts in response to the recent earthquakes in Nepal.