Thu, 24 Jun 2021

Singapore, Nov 20 (ANI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held wide-ranging talks with his Singapore counterpart Ng Eng Hen here on Wednesday during which the two sides reaffirmed commitment to support initiatives that would promote stability in the region.

Singh and Hen co-chaired the 4th Singapore-India Defence Ministers' Dialogue (DMD) here today.

Lauding the growth in cooperation in the maritime domain between India and Singapore, the two ministers recalled the inaugural edition of the Singapore-India-Thailand Maritime Exercise (SITMEX) in the Andaman Sea that was conducted in September 2019 which underscored the shared responsibility of the countries to work together in keeping sea lines of communications open and strengthened interoperability between the three countries.

Both leaders expressed satisfaction over the deepening of defence ties between the two Asian countries.Hen also appreciated New Delhi'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.

Singh, meanwhile, 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.

The Singaporean counterpart 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 the 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 exploring deepening HADR cooperation in areas such as information sharing and capacity building.

The ministers also 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 Facilities under the Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme of India to which Ng agreed in order to explore opportunities for joint collaboration.

The Ministers further 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. (ANI)

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