Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen and Indian Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh co-chaired the 5th India-Singapore Defence Ministers' Dialogue (DMD) via video conferencing, in view of the ongoing COVID-19 situation globally. Singapore and India enjoy regular defence interactions in multiple areas, including high-level visits and dialogues, military exchanges and defence technology cooperation.
During the DMD, both Ministers reaffirmed the strong and long-standing bilateral defence relationship and reaffirmed both countries' commitment to sustain bilateral defence cooperation despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. They discussed regional security developments and acknowledged the good progress made in cooperation across the three Services, on defence technology and in multilateral engagements. Both Ministers witnessed the signing of the Implementing Agreement on Submarine Rescue Support and Cooperation between the two Navies, and conveyed their full support towards the early conclusion of agreements to facilitate the conduct of live firings and the cross-attendance of courses by officers of both Armed Forces.
The Joint Statement released by Dr Ng and Mr Singh after the DMD reaffirmed both countries' commitment to strengthen defence cooperation. Both Ministers recognised the positive trajectory of bilateral defence relations that has expanded into new areas of cooperation, such as in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) and cybersecurity. Commending the successful engagements in the maritime domain amid the pandemic, both Ministers acknowledged the conclusion of the 27th edition of the Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise and the participation of both Navies in the second edition of the Singapore-India-Thailand Maritime Exercise, which were both held in Nov 2020.
Speaking after the DMD, Dr Ng highlighted the significance of the defence cooperation between Singapore and India. He said, "There are many new areas, including defence technology, that both sides can build shared interests and shared capabilities… Overall, our defence ties and military engagement with India have grown significantly, and we welcome this partnership. I am very happy that Minister Singh and I share a common purpose to push defence ties even stronger."