New Delhi: India and Singapore on November 20 expressed satisfaction at the deepening defence ties between the two countries and reaffirming their commitment to support further initiatives that would promote stability in the region.
At the 4th Singapore-India Defence Ministers Dialogue (DMD) co-chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Singapore counterpart Dr NG Eng Hen, they lauded the growth in cooperation in the maritime domain. The inaugural edition of the Singapore-India-Thailand Maritime Exercise (SITMEX) in the Andaman Sea was conducted in September 2019. This exercise underscores the shared responsibility of the countries to work together in keeping sea lines of communications (SLOC) open and strengthens interoperability between the three countries. The participating Navies have found value in the exercise and have agreed to conduct the exercise on a yearly basis.
Singapore Defence Minister appreciated India’s continued support for the training of the Singapore Armed Forces in India. Of note, in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Singapore Air Force-Indian Air Force Joint Military Training this year, the exercise was expanded to include an air-sea training component for the first time. The increasing degree of complexity of the bilateral exercises reflects the growing confidence and mutual respect for each other’s professional capabilities.
Singh reaffirmed India’s full support and active participation in the regional security architecture, namely the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus) and its many initiatives.
Dr Ng expressed support for India’s upcoming co-chairmanship of the ADMM Plus Experts’ Working Group on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) and welcomed India’s deepening engagements with other ASEAN States, both in bilateral and multilateral formats. In this regard, both sides welcomed the conclusion of a Letter of Intent to reaffirm mutual commitment to explore deepening HADR cooperation in areas such as information sharing and capacity building.
The Ministers commended the progress in defence technology collaboration. They witnessed the exchange of a Letter of Intent to register both sides’ commitment to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate the use of Chandipur Integrated Test Range by the Singapore defence establishment.
Singh also offered setting up of a Joint Test Facility under the Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme of India. Dr Ng agreed to explore opportunities for joint collaboration. The Ministers also agreed to explore cooperation in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, Geo-Spatial Data Sharing and Cyber Security. It was also agreed to hold the 5th DMD in India next year on a mutually convenient date.
On the concluding day of his visit to Singapore, Singh also visited the Kranji War Memorial and paid tributes to those who laid down their lives in the line of duty during the Second World War.