Defence Minister Meets Singapore Deputy PM Heng Swee Keat

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New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called on Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Singapore Heng Swee Keat in Singapore on November 19 and expressed satisfaction at the increasing engagement of the Armed Forces of the two countries in conducting joint exercises. Both leaders agreed to take the increasing bilateral defence cooperation to greater heights.

Singh also referred to India’s stand on the South China Sea and the Indo-Pacific region stressing that the Indo-Pacific for India means an open, inclusive and stable region, connected through secure seas, integrated by trade and anchored by the unity and centrality of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

He reiterated India’s stand that the implementation of international laws and norms, freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful commerce and peaceful settlement of disputes is the only way to ensure a rule-based order in the Indo-pacific region. He conveyed to Keat that the vision of India’s comprehensive agenda of regional cooperation is rooted in ‘SAGAR’ (Security and Growth for All in the Region’).

Singh told the Singapore leader India’s stand for not joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Among other engagements on the first day of his visit to Singapore, Singh visited the Sembawang Air Base and took a familiarisation air sortie in Super Puma Helicopter of Singapore Air Force. He also visited Singapore naval ship RSS Stalwart.

The Defence Minister paid homage to Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi at his Marker in Singapore. He also paid tributes to great freedom fighter Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Indian National Army (INA) martyrs at their memorial. On this occasion, he met Major Ishwar Lal who had served INA under the leadership of Bose. At the memorial, Singh interacted with the NCC cadets, who are on a visit to Singapore.

He will co-chair the 4th India-Singapore Defence Ministers’ Dialogue tomorrow before concluding his visit.

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