Australian Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds is in Singapore for her introductory visit on 20 October 2020.
Ms Reynolds called on Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen at the Ministry of Defence this morning after reviewing a Guard of Honour. During the meeting, Dr Ng and Ms Reynolds reaffirmed the close and long-standing bilateral defence relations between Singapore and Australia and both countries' deepening defence cooperation under the Singapore-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. The Ministers welcomed the steady progress made in the joint development of training areas and advanced training facilities in Queensland, Australia, under the treaty-level Agreement Concerning Military Training and Training Area Development in Australia, which both Ministers signed in March 2020.
The Ministers also discussed regional and international security developments, including the importance of enhancing regional counter-terrorism cooperation. They reaffirmed the value of key security platforms such as the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus and the Five Power Defence Arrangements in addressing security challenges, and agreed to continue the strong cooperation under these platforms.
As part of her introductory visit programme, Ms Reynolds called on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong after her meeting with Dr Ng, and will call on Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat this afternoon. She will also visit Sembawang Air Base to take a familiarisation flight on board a Republic of Singapore Air Force Super Puma helicopter.
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the Australian Defence Force have a long history of military cooperation, with extensive interactions including bilateral and multilateral training exercises, visits, professional exchanges, cross attendance of courses and joint operational deployments. Ms Reynolds' visit is also a key milestone in the lead-up to the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the SAF's training in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area scheduled to take place later this year.
Relevant health checks and safety measures have been taken by the visiting delegation.