Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen participated in the inaugural Indian Ocean Region (IOR) Defence Ministers' Conclave (DMC), which took place this afternoon. The IOR DMC saw participation from Defence Ministers and Senior Defence Officials from 25 countries.
Themed "Enhanced Peace, Security and Cooperation in the Indian Ocean", participants exchanged views on how defence establishments could contribute towards strengthening peace and security in the Indian Ocean Region, and discussed potential areas for deeper defence cooperation, such as maritime resource and information sharing and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief collaboration.
In a pre-recorded message aired during the conclave, Dr Ng spoke about the importance of keeping Sea Lines of Communication above the fray of sovereign disputes and contestation, which is especially pertinent for maritime nations like India and Singapore, who depend on these global commons for trade and the movement of essential supplies. Dr Ng emphasised that Singapore will work with like-minded partners to preserve and advance maritime norms that protect these vital waterways, as well as to uphold the principles of freedom of navigation and over-flight in the maritime domain. Dr Ng also highlighted Singapore's support for India's leadership to foster a rules-based maritime order in the IOR, in addition to practical defence cooperation initiatives between both countries' navies, such as the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM)-Plus Maritime Security Field Training Exercises, the Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX) and the Singapore-India-Thailand Maritime Exercise (SITMEX), to enhance inter-operability and build trust.