Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 11/21/2012 07:42 | By Channel NewsAsia

Importance of building consensus, practical cooperation: Ng Eng Hen

Importance of building consensus, practical cooperation: Ng Eng Hen

Importance of building consensus, practical cooperation: Ng Eng Hen

NEW DELHI: Singapore’s Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen said it’s important to build consensus and practical cooperation through an open and inclusive regional security architecture.

He said that multilateral fora like the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM)—Plus and the Shangri—La Dialogue provided platforms for countries to engage in constructive dialogues to build cooperation and common understanding.

Dr Ng made these points in a speech "Security Cooperation in a Changing Strategic Landscape" at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), which is India’s premier think—tank on defence and security matters.

Addressing members of the IDSA, as well as senior Indian defence and foreign affairs officials and academics, Dr Ng spoke about the changing dynamics in the Asia—Pacific region.

He described India as a key stakeholder in the Asia—Pacific region, whose growing strategic weight could allow it to lend leadership and contribute to a more robust and balanced regional security architecture.

"Singapore believes that India can and should play a major role in these various fora to promote peace, stability and progress for the region. India is a rising powerIndia’s greater engagement of Southeast Asia, as it has been done in the past through meaningful multilateral engagement and a strong web of bilateral relationships, would also serve India’s strategic and economic interests in the future," he said.

Dr Ng is in India for a two—day introductory visit.

He will meet key Indian political leaders and defence officials, and reaffirm the strong and longstanding defence ties between both countries.

Dr Ng also met the General Secretary of the Indian National Congress, Mr Rahul Gandhi.

Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said Dr Ng’s visit underscores the warm defence relations between India and Singapore.

In July this year, India and Singapore renewed the Bilateral Agreement for the Conduct of Joint Military Training and Exercises in India between the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and the Indian Air Force, allowing the RSAF to continue its joint military training at Kalaikunda Air Force Station for another five years.

Both countries also interact regularly through defence policy dialogues, high—level visits, professional exchanges and defence technology cooperation.

— CNA/de

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