India, Singapore decide to ramp up defence cooperation (Photo- Twitter)
India and Singapore on Tuesday signed a revised Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) to further strengthen the military cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries, officials said.
The pact was signed before talks between Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her Singaporean counterpart Ng Eng Hen in Visakhapatnam.
Officials said the two countries also renewed a bilateral agreement for the conduct of training and exercises for the Singapore armed forces in India.
In the talks held under the framework of the Defence Ministers’ Dialogue, Singapore supported India’s keenness to be part of the maritime patrols along the Straits of Malacca with Singapore, they said.
The Singapore side also conveyed to India that it looks forward to the inaugural conduct of the trilateral maritime exercise with Thailand in the Andaman Sea.
Officials said the two countries also agreed to step up intelligence and information sharing in the areas of maritime security, and resolved to expand counter terror cooperation between the two countries.
They said the Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) signed Tuesday was a revised version of the pact sealed in 2015.
Earlier in the day, Ng attended the final sea phase of the 25th edition of the Singapore-India maritime exercise.
In the talks, Sitharaman affirmed India’s full support and active participation in the regional security architecture being pushed by the ASEAN, said a statement by the defence ministry.
In an oblique reference to China’s military assertiveness in South China sea, the two sides also underscored the importance of maintaining freedom of navigation and overflight consistent with international law.
“Sitharaman reaffirmed India’s belief that disputes should be resolved through peaceful means, and in accordance with the universally recognised principles of international law,” the defence ministry said.
“Both ministers agreed on the importance of international cooperation in tackling transnational security threats and in particular measures to collectively tackle the threat of terrorism,” it said.
It said the two sides also commended the progress in defence technology collaboration between the two sides.
“These joint research and development collaborations included areas such as combat care and vehicle armour,” the statement said.