SINGAPORE: The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will suspend all large-scale overseas exercises, including Exercise Wallaby in Australia, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said in a news release on Tuesday (May 12).
"Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the SAF has suspended all large-scale overseas exercises, including Exercise Wallaby this year," said MINDEF.
"When conditions improve, Singapore may continue with smaller-scale training activities in Australia, in full compliance with their safety requirements to prevent the spread of disease."
Inaugurated in 1990, Exercise Wallaby is the SAF's largest overseas exercise and is held at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland, Australia.
READ: COVID-19: No overseas exercise and commissioning parade, but SAF Officer Cadet School training must go on
MINDEF said bilateral ties with Australia continue to be strong, and that it looks forward to future editions of the overseas exercise.
"The joint development of training areas and advanced training facilities in central and north Queensland will deepen defence cooperation and benefit both armed forces and defence establishments for many years to come," said MINDEF.
It added that it appreciates the "strong support" of the Australian government, the Australian Department of Defence, Australian Defence Force and the local communities of Rockhampton and Livingstone Shire for the SAF training there over the years.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, Singapore had already suspended Basic Military Training since Apr 7 and deferred activities for its operationally ready national servicemen, in line with the nationwide safe distancing measures.
Training at the Officer Cadet School continues with enhanced safety measures, but overseas exercises have been cancelled. The commissioning parade will also be replaced with a smaller, modified ceremony without visitors.