Singapore, Nov 20 : India and Singapore on Wednesday discussed regional security developments in South Asia and the Indo-Pacific, and ways to strengthen defence cooperation.
Defence Minister Mr Rajnath Singh and his Singapore counterpart Dr Ng Eng Hen co-chaired the 4th India-Singapore Defence Ministers' Dialogue here during the day. Dr Ng welcomed India's continued engagement of the region and its active role in the regional security architecture.
In a joint statement, both sides reaffirmed the progress made in cooperation across the three Services, on defence technology and in multilateral engagements. Both ministers witnessed the exchange of Letters of Intent on Singapore's use of Chandipur Integrated Test Range in Odisha as well as on deepening Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) cooperation.
The ministers also acknowledged the conclusion of the inaugural Singapore-India-Thailand maritime exercise in the Andaman Sea and announced that it will be annualised here after.
The Ministers also noted that this year marks the 10th Joint Military Training between the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and Indian Air Force. The exercise was expanded to include an air-sea training component for the first time. "Our defence ties have grown strength to strength… We appreciate India's continued support for our training in India. We talked about security challenges here in the region, the Indo-Pacific area and in South Asia. I would say that we concluded the dialogue very successfully and affirmed our commitment to deepen defence ties," Dr Ng said after the dialogue.
Mr Singh reaffirmed India's full support and active participation in the regional security architecture, namely the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM)-Plus and its many initiatives. He also offered setting up of Joint Test Facilities 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.
Dr Ng expressed support for India's upcoming co-chairmanship of the ADMM-Plus Experts' Working Group on 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 a mutual commitment to explore deepening HADR cooperation in areas such as information sharing and capacity building.
Both ministers reaffirmed their commitment to support further initiatives that would promote stability to the region It was also agreed to hold the 5th DMD in India next year on mutually convenient dates.
India and Singapore hold regular defence interactions in multiple areas, including defence policy dialogues, high-level visits, military exchanges and defence technology cooperation. As part of the visit, Mr Singh called on Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat.
He visited RSS Singapura-Changi Naval Base where he went on board RSS Stalwart. He was also hosted to a familiarisation ride on the RSAF's Super Puma helicopter at Sembawang Air Base. (UNI)