Channel NewsAsia

Singapore and India agree to enhanced defence partnership

Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen said there are some key areas where Singapore and India can build closer defence collaborations, under the new political leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

NEW DELHI: Singapore and India will step up defence ties through an enhanced partnership that will deepen the relationship and allow both sides to explore new areas of cooperation.

Speaking in an interview with the media during his official visit to India on Tuesday, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen said there are some key areas where Singapore and India can build closer defence collaborations, under the new political leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Dr Ng said: "Transnational challenges like maritime security ... cyber domain, the cyber threat is a growing one, one which all countries and all militaries and security forces are addressing and grappling with, and we came away from these meetings affirming that sharing of information is crucial, sharing of information, sharing of intelligence. These are the areas that we feel that we could step up.

"Another area is defence cooperation, defence technology cooperation. I reminded my counterparts that Singapore is very small, that we don't have scaleable assets. But where we can, we would want to look at areas where we could mutually benefit, both countries. India is renowned for its IT expertise. Singapore has some capabilities. Where we can look at these areas where we can enhance defence technologies, I think that would make sense too."

He feels both Singapore and India can play a "very positive role for regional stability", whether it's in the South China Sea, Straits of Malacca or Indian Ocean.

Dr Ng also met his Indian counterpart Defence Minister Arun Jaitley. With India and Singapore commemorating 50 years of diplomatic relations next year, the ministers also reaffirmed the warm and long-standing bilateral defence relations between the two countries. They discussed defence cooperation at the bilateral and multilateral levels, including the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM)-Plus and the Shangri-La Dialogue.

Mr Jaitley hosted Dr Ng to a luncheon, attended by the Chief of Staff and Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, Chief of the Army Staff General Dalbir Singh and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Robin K Dhowan.

Earlier, Dr Ng met India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Dr Ng also laid a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti war memorial, and inspected a Guard of Honour at the Ministry of Defence. 

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia