Senior Minister of State for Defence Mr Zaqy Mohamad officiated at the opening ceremony of Exercise Deep Sabre (XDS) 2021 at the Changi Command and Control Centre this morning. Held under the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) Asia-Pacific Exercise Rotation series, this year's XDS is taking place from 28 to 29 October 2021 in a hybrid format. The exercise involves 130 participants. Apart from Singapore as the host, 22 other participating countries are attending virtually. This is the fourth time Singapore is hosting a PSI exercise.
During his opening address, Mr Zaqy highlighted the value of XDS for participants to enhance multilateral cooperation through discussions and sharing of best practices on international counter-proliferation efforts. On emerging challenges in counter-proliferation, he said, "The proliferation landscape also makes that no one country can tackle such diverse challenges alone. It must be emphasised that proliferation is a global issue. Collectively, it is important for all our countries to work together to uphold the safety and security of our region and our countries through robust counter-proliferation discussions and practices."
Mr Zaqy emphasised Singapore's commitment and efforts to counter-proliferation. He said, "As a major maritime hub and island-state located along key trade routes, Singapore takes our obligations to counter the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) and related materials seriously… putting in place a robust exports control regime is therefore critical to safeguard against the illicit movement of items through our ports."
Exercise participants attended an academic sharing session this morning and discussed topics such as the prevention of proliferation activities within and across country borders as well as emerging trends in the proliferation of WMDs. This afternoon, participants will take part in a virtual symposium led by the Singapore Armed Forces Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Explosives Defence Group, on the best practices and operational challenges faced in the counter-proliferation of WMD-materials. Tomorrow, the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies will facilitate a hybrid table-top exercise where participants will develop multinational and inter-agency counter-proliferation plans to prevent the movement of controlled substances and explosive WMD-related materials.
Launched in 2003, the PSI is a multinational initiative which encourages international cooperation to counter the proliferation of WMDs, their delivery systems, and related materials. To date, 107 countries around the world have endorsed the PSI.
 The other 22 countries participating in XDS21 are Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, ROK, Spain, Thailand, UK, the US and Vietnam.