India and Singapore have signed a fresh agreement to extend the use of training and exercise facilities in India by the Singapore Army for a further period of five years from August this year.
The agreement was signed by the Defence Secretary Radha Krishna Mathur and the Singaporean Permanent Secretary of Defence Chiang Chie Foo in the presence of the two Defence Ministers of both the countries, AK Antony and Dr Ng Eng Hen, according to reports received from Singapore.
It may be recalled that a bilateral agreement for utilization of facilities in India by the Singapore Air Force and Army was signed in October 2007 and August 2008 respectively. The agreement for training and exercises of Singapore Air Force in India was extended up to October 2017 during the visit of Singapore’s Permanent Secretary of Defence to India in July last year. Singapore is the only country to which India is offering such facilities.
Mr. Antony, who is on a three-nation visit, arrived in Singapore on Monday. The two sides held wide ranging talks on defence co-operation. They also exchanged views on global and regional security issues including Asia-Pacific Security.
As part of his foreign tour, Mr. Antony will also visit Australia, and Thailand till June 6. In Singapore, Mr. Antony also held discussions with his counterpart on various bilateral co-operation issues as well as issues concerning the regional global security situations.
Mr. Antony’s visit to Australia will be the first ever by an Indian Defence Minister. He will be halting at Perth enroute to Canberra, where he will be received by Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith. Both Ministers will attend a few ceremonial events before proceeding to Canberra. In Canberra, Mr. Antony will be holding detailed bilateral discussions with Mr. Smith and is also expected to call on Prime Minister, Ms. Julia Gillard. Both sides would be discussing measures to enhance exchanges between the defence establishments and armed forces of the two nations.
Mr. Antony’s visit to Thailand is in response to an invitation from the Thai Defence Minister who had visited India in December 2012. During his visit, Mr. Antony will be meeting his counterpart, Air Chief Marshal Sukumpol Suwanatat and is also expected to call on Prime Minister, Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra. Both sides are expected to review on-going exchanges between the armed forces including possible enhancement of on-going Army and Navy exercises and joint patrols along the common maritime boundary between both countries.
The Defence Minister will return home on Thursday.