"We are facing many kinds of tension in the world today, and the best way to achieve stability and to overcome some of the potential risks…is to do our best to strengthen multilateral platforms and multilateral understanding."
That was what Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How said during the international warship cocktail reception held at RSS Singapura – Changi Naval Base on the evening of 15 May.
Emphasising the importance of strengthening bonds through the International Maritime Defence Exhibition (IMDEX) Asia, Mr Heng said: "(IMDEX) is an occasion…where you bring together experts, the military personnel, Navy, coast guard, academia, (and the) industry, in terms of the exhibition, and then the discussions as well."
He added that the gathering also built mutual understanding and strengthened bonds of communication.
Mr Heng joined navy chiefs, coast guard directors-general and representatives from more than 40 countries on board the Republic of Singapore Navy's (RSN's) Endurance-class Landing Ship Tank RSS Persistence for the reception, as part of the 12th IMDEX Asia.
Rear-Admiral (RA) David Proctor, Chief of Navy for the Royal New Zealand Navy, feels that IMDEX plays a crucial role in the preservation of the maritime domain.
"(IMDEX allows for) fantastic opportunities to talk to other Chiefs of Navy and heads of maritime forces," said RA Proctor. "During my time at IMDEX, we discussed professional business in the maritime domain, and had discussions about global maritime commons, and how we need to preserve that maritime domain for everyone's use."
He also mentioned that it was his first time attending IMDEX, and it served as a platform to meet old friends whom he had served with previously, and how they were given the opportunity to discuss solutions for issues and problems that persist in the current maritime domain.
Admiral (ADM) Charchat from the Royal Thai Navy agreed with RA Proctor, and said: "It was a wonderful experience to be here at IMDEX, and it (gave us) a great opportunity to see things such as new technologies."
It was also ADM Charchat's first time attending IMDEX, and he added: "I got to meet a lot of officials from all around the world, and it was a…great experience."
Mr Heng and the Chiefs of Navy were treated to cultural performances by various navies during the cocktail reception, and they also witnessed the sunset ceremony, a naval tradition during which sailors mark the end of the day.