Posted: 17 Oct 1996, 0900 hours (GMT +8)
The Australia-Singapore relationship is a broad-based one in which there are shared political, economic and security interests. Defence ties have expanded in scope and depth in recent years. The scope of defence cooperation includes bilateral and multilateral exercises, cooperation in defence science and technology, and SAF training in Australia. There is an on-going effort by both sides to explore new areas of cooperation which will be of mutual benefit.
The close defence relationship between Australia and Singapore has its foundation in our long history of defence cooperation, our shared strategic outlook and our common interest to promote regional peace and stability. This is the basis for the New Partnership between Australia and Singapore announced by the Prime Ministers of the two countries in January this year. Defence cooperation is an important pillar of this relationship.
Singapore values the extensive training opportunities which Australia has provided to the SAF. The SAF conducts unilateral armour training in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland, flying training at the RSAF Flying Training School in Pearce, Western Australia, and fighter training at RAAF bases in Amberley, Queensland, and Darwin and Tindal in the Northern Territory. The RSN conducts bilateral naval exercises with the RAN; the first exercise conducted in Singapore last year. The SAF also participates in multilateral exercises hosted by the ADF in Australia.
Singapore appreciates the training opportunities which Australia has provided to the SAF as there is a severe shortage of training space in Singapore. The SAF’s access to the ADF’s training facilities and the opportunities to train with the ADF contribute to the development of the SAF and ensure that Australia has a friend in the region with the capability to defend itself, thereby contributing to regional security and stability. There are also economic benefits to Australia arising from SAF training in Australia, in commercial support, and from infrastructural development and support, expenditure on housing and transport, and personal spending by SAF personnel in Australia.
[Some background information: in 1995, the SAF signed a A$7 million contract with an Australian company to provide warehousing facilities, maintenance and logistics support for SAF training in Queensland. Aerospace Engineering Services (AES), a joint venture company formed by Singapore Technologies Aerospace Engineering and AIRS Engineering Services Pty Ltd, has also been contracted to provide maintenance and logistics support for the RSAF’s fleet of S-211 trainer aircraft in Pearce. The contract is worth about A$18 million annually.]
Australia is regarded by Singapore as a valuable partner in the Asia-Pacific and Singapore welcomes the Australian government’s reaffirmation that its relations with Asia are its top priority, even as Australia seeks to strengthen its ties with Europe and the US. Singapore welcomes Australia’s commitment to the existing regional security structures. Both Australia and Singapore see benefit in working together in the FPDA and the ARF to promote regional stability and security. The FPDA remains an important factor in the regional security framework. It is fully compatible with the new approaches to regional security, and the deterrence provided by the FPDA cannot be fully replaced by other regional security arrangements. Singapore appreciates the active support that the ADF has given to the FPDA through its participation in FPDA exercises and the appointment of an RAAF officer to fill the post of Commander IADS.