Joint Statement by Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Defence of the Republic of India and Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defence of the Republic of Singapore

Joint Statement by Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Defence of the Republic of India and Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defence of the Republic of Singapore

The 3rd Defence Ministers' Dialogue (DMD) between India and Singapore was successfully concluded today. The DMD commenced after both countries signed the revised Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) in 2015 to further strengthen the long-standing defence relationship between the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the Indian Armed Forces.

Of particular significance during this meeting was the renewal of the Bilateral Agreement for the conduct of Joint Army Training and Exercises in India. This agreement gives out an exhaustive framework for the conduct of joint training as well as exercises for the Singapore Armed Forces in India and will further strengthen the cooperation between the two Armed Forces.

Earlier in the day, Dr Ng attended the final sea phase of the 25th edition of the Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise – SIMBEX on board INS Shakti. This multi-dimensional exercise witnessed participation of ships, submarines as well as aircraft from both sides and live firings at sea. Both Ministers complimented all personnel participating in the milestone event and for making it a success which is a testament of the long-standing ties between the armed forces of the two countries.

Both Ministers commended the conclusion of the Navy Implementing Arrangement Concerning Mutual Coordination, Logistics and Services Support in June 2018, which together with the Navy Bilateral Agreement concluded in November 2017, have expanded and deepened naval cooperation.

Dr Ng expressed appreciation for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Keynote Address at the 2018 Shangri-La Dialogue, wherein PM Modi articulated India's vision for the Indo-Pacific region. In this regard, Singapore strongly supports India's deep engagement with ASEAN member states participation in patrols along the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, and looks forward to the inaugural conduct of the trilateral maritime exercise with India and Thailand in the Andaman Sea.

Smt. Sitharaman affirmed India's full support and active participation in the regional security architecture of the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM)-Plus and its many initiatives. As an ADMM-Plus member, India supports for the adoption of the Guidelines for Air Military Encounters.

As littoral countries astride key Sea Lines of Communication, the Ministers underscored the importance of maintaining freedom of navigation and overflight consistent with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Smt. Sitharaman reaffirmed India's belief that disputes should be resolved through peaceful means, and in accordance with the universally recognised principles of international law. Both Ministers agreed on the importance of international cooperation in tackling transnational security threats and in particular measures to collectively tackle the threat of terrorism. Both Ministers agreed to step up intelligence and information sharing, particularly in the areas of maritime security and counter-terrorism, and expand collaboration on submarine safety and rescue.

Ministers also commended the progress in defence technology collaboration under the auspices of the India-Singapore Defence Technology Steering Committee and the India-Singapore Defence Industry Working Group. These joint R&D collaborations included areas such as Combat Care and Vehicle Armour.

The Ministers expressed satisfaction at the deepening defence ties between India and Singapore and reaffirmed their commitment to support further initiatives that would promote stability to the region. It was also agreed to hold the 4th DMD in Singapore next year on mutually convenient dates.

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