Free Press Journal

India, Singapore sign key agreement to boost maritime cooperation


R K Dhowan

Singapore: India and Singapore today signed an agreement on sharing white-shipping information to enhance maritime cooperation between the two navies as visiting Navy chief Admiral R K Dhowan held talks with top defence officials here. Dhowan, who is on his maiden visit to Singapore from July 20-23, called on Singapore’s Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen.

He also held talks with Chief of Defence Force Lt-Gen Ng Chee Meng and Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral (RADM) Lai Chung Han after inspecting a Guard of Honour at Ministry of Defence. He visited the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)’s Information Fusion Centre and the Changi Naval Base, where he and RADM Lai signed a Technical Agreement (TA) on sharing white-shipping information, which will enhance maritime information sharing between the two navies, said the Ministry of Defence in a statement. White-shipping refers to commercial shipping information about movement of cargo ships.

The RSN and the Indian Navy conduct the Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX) together annually and this year’s SIMBEX, held in May, was the 22nd in the series.

Both navies also interact regularly through high-level visits, dialogues, joint military training, courses and other professional exchanges.

“Following Dr Ng’s official visit to India in August 2014, both defence establishments agreed to strengthen defence relations under the ambit of an enhanced defence partnership this year.

This would allow both sides to explore new areas of cooperation for mutual benefit,” said the statement. Dhowan’s introductory visit underscores the warm and longstanding defence relations between Singapore and India, which have strengthened over the years since the signing of the Defence Cooperation Agreement in 2003, it said.