India-Singapore Bilateral Naval Agreement

Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Wednesday said he would “encourage” Indian Naval ships to visit Changi Naval Base in Singapore, close to the South China Sea, more often.

He also said that Singapore wants more activities in both the Strait of Malacca and Andaman Sea.

Ng was speaking at a joint press conference with Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
after holding the second Singapore-India Defence Ministers Dialogue.

Asked if Singapore would allow operational turnaround to Indian Naval ships at their naval base, Ng said: “I would respond categorically — I would not just be comfortable, I would encourage the Indian Navy to visit Changi Naval Base more often.”

Calling the Strait of Malacca and Indian Ocean key lines of communication, the Minister said it “makes sense for countries to cooperate not only to establish maritime security but to maintain freedom of navigation. Because we know it is the lifeline for economies.”

A joint statement issued by the two countries said the India-Singapore Bilateral Naval Agreement, which signed Nov 29, will lead to increased cooperation in maritime security, joint exercises, temporary deployments.

The two sides reaffirmed the importance of freedom of navigation and trade consistent with international laws. This comes in the backdrop of China’s increased aggression in South China Sea and the increased presence of Chinese Naval ships and submarines in the Indian Ocea