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India, Singapore agree to enhance scale of military interaction


Jun 17, 2010
SINGAPORE: India and SINGAPORE today held the first dialogue between their defence ministers as they agreed to enhance the scale and complexity of existing bilateral military interaction, at a time when freedom of navigation in international waterways has emerged as a major concern.

The first Defence Ministers' Dialogue (DMD) between Manohar Parrikar and his Singaporean counterpart Ng Eng Hen marked raising of bilateral defence cooperation to the highest level.

"We had very detailed discussions. We have agreed on expanding the interaction between the armed forces and defence R&D and industry participation under (the) 'Make in India' (initiative)," Parrikar told reporters after the dialogue.

"I am very hopeful that this association with Singapore is going to build up to a much more than the strategic partnership," said Parrikar, who also called on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong this morning before the DMD.

"We have agreed (that the) scope and complexity of the interaction between the armed forces would be further enhanced," he said.

Parrikar further said the two sides also agreed to collaborate between industries.

"Under (the) 'Make in India' initiative, the industry-to- industry cooperation has already begun and it is showing positive response," he said.

The agreement will also see Defence Research and Development Organisation ( DRDO ) working with a Singapore research agency on research-oriented projects.

Responding to questions, Singapore Minister Ng said: "We both agreed that we will work towards renewal of agreements" for training of Singapore armed forces in India from 2017 and 2018.

Singapore and Indian armed forces interact frequently and "it is a not a new relationship", stressed Ng.

"Both countries would also want to deepen the complexity and engagement between our two militaries under the revised defence cooperation agreement," he said.

A joint statement issued after the meeting said both ministers committed to enhance the scale and complexity of existing bilateral exercises between the militaries.

The minister emphasised the importance of international cooperation in tackling transnational security threats.

In particular, both ministers strongly condemned terrorism, and renewed their commitment to cooperation in counter terrorism efforts, emphasised the importance of safeguarding maritime security in international waterways, according to an official statement.

Freedom of navigation in international waterways like the disputed South China Sea has emerged as a concern for many countries including the US, which has sent warships and military planes to challenge territorial claims by China over the strategic waters. In response, China has deployed fighter jets and ships to track and warn off US ships.


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