New Delhi: Defence Minister of India, Rajnath Singh, and Defence Minister of Singapore, Dr. Ng Eng Hen co-chaired the 4th Singapore-India Defence Ministers’ Dialogue (DMD) in Singapore today. Both Ministers expressed satisfaction at the deepening Defence ties between India & Singapore and reaffirmed their commitment to support further initiatives that would promote stability to the region.
The Ministers 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 this year.This exercise underscores the shared responsibility of the countries to work together in keeping sea lines of communications 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.
The Defence Minister of Singapore 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, said the Centre in a release.
Rajnath 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.
At the ADMM-Plus summit earlier in November, Singh held bilateral meets with Defence Officials of Japan, Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand at ADMM-Plus. He affirmed India’s committment to achieving a $26bn Defence industry by 2025 with the ‘Make in India’ program.
On the sidelines of the summit, Singh met with the US Secretary of Defence Mark T Esper, discussed the regional security situation, and shared with Esper India’s vision and perspective on the Indo-Pacific. He also urged the international community to eliminate the scourge of terrorism and develop sustainable security.
Dr. Hen 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 (MoU) 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 mutually convenient dates.
The DMD between India and Singapore had commenced in 2015 after both countries signed the revised Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) to further strengthen the long-standing bilateral Defence relationship.
Since then, the relationship has broadened and deepened to encompass military cooperation across all three Services of the Armed Forces of India and Singapore, Defence technology cooperation, as well as cooperation through multilateral engagements.
Earlier today, on the final day of his visit to Singapore, Singh 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.
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