Channel NewsAsia

NSmen the cornerstone of Singapore defence: DPM Tharman

Committee to Strengthen National Service's recommendations will continue to build a stronger NS system, says Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam at officer commissioning parade.

SINGAPORE: With tensions rising in the region, and security challenges such as terrorism, natural disasters, biological pandemics and cyber threats becoming transnational issues, Singapore must never take its success and stability for granted, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Sunday (July 20).

And while the Singapore Armed Forces continues to invest in state-of-the-art platforms and weapons systems, at the centre of Singapore's defences against such challenges: National Servicemen, said Mr Tharman, speaking at a commissioning parade at the SAFTI Military Institute.

"National Servicemen, like yourselves, are the cornerstone of Singapore’s defence," he said to the 456 Army, 50 Air Force and 47 Navy officer cadets who were on Sunday commissioned as officers.

“As the ultimate guarantor of Singapore’s security, the SAF must remain a strong and credible force against all security threats, to give Singapore and Singaporeans the confidence to face a volatile and uncertain world.”

Mr Tharman said the implementation of the Committee to Strengthen National Service's recommendations will continue to build a stronger NS system. "At the heart of it all, the intent is to create a more positive NS experience that empowers and motivates individuals."

He also highlighted the role that family and friends play in supporting servicemen - something that many graduands Channel NewsAsia spoke to attested to.

Said graduating infantry officer Muhammad Iqbal Abdul Rahim: "Every single day they call me and ask me how training is going, how the Officer Cadet School is treating me."

Graduating naval officer cadet trainee Thirunavukarasu Teyagarajan spoke of how his father helped him pass his swimming proficiency test. "When I came back every weekend, my dad would ask me to go for a swim. He would actually bring me to the swimming pool, then swim with me."

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