20 November 2019
Singapore: India and Singapore exchanged a Letter of Intent (LoI) on Wednesday for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) whereby the latter's defence establishment could use the Chandipur Integrated Test Range in Odisha.
The exchange of the Letter of Intent took place in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who is on a two-day trip to the Southeast Asian nation, and his Singaporean counterpart Dr Ng Eng.
The Integrated Test Range, a missile testing facility of the Defence Research & Development Organisation, is located on Dr Abdul Kalam Island, formerly known as Wheeler Island, off the eastern coast of India in the Bay of Bengal.
Singh co-chaired the 4th Singapore-India Defence Ministers Dialogue on the concluding day of his visit on Wednesday. Defence sources said Singh also offered setting up of Joint Test Facilities under the Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme of India following which Dr Ng agreed to explore opportunities for a joint collaboration.
"The Ministers also agreed to explore cooperation in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, Geo-Spatial Data Sharing and Cyber Security. It was also agreed to hold the 5th Defence Ministers Dialogue in India next year on mutually convenient dates," said a statement from the Defence Ministry.
The Defence Ministers' Dialogue between India and Singapore had commenced in 2015 after both countries signed the revised Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) to further strengthen the long-standing bilateral defence relationship.
Sources in the Defence Ministry said Singapore appreciated India's continued support for the training of the Singapore Armed Forces in India. In commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Singapore Air Force-Indian Air Force Joint Military Training this year, the exercise was expanded to include an air-sea training component for the first time.
"The increasing degree of complexity of the bilateral exercises reflects the growing confidence and mutual respect for each other's professional capabilities," added the Ministry's statement.
On Wednesday, Singh also visited the Kranji War Memorial and paid tributes to those who laid down their lives in the line of duty during the Second World War.