Today I met Singapore’s Minister of Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen in Canberra. Dr Ng is in Australia for the Singapore- Australia Joint Ministerial Committee (SAJMC). The SAJMC is a Dialogue involving the Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.
This is Dr Ng’s second visit to Australia this year and the fifth occasion we have met. We last met in Singapore on 1 June in the margins of the 11th International Institute for Strategic Studies Asia Security Dialogue: The Shangri-La Dialogue.
Dr Ng and I discussed regional strategic developments and opportunities for further Defence cooperation bilaterally and in the region.
Australia’s Defence relationship with Singapore is one of the most mature in the region. It is founded on a shared interest in regional stability and security, a history of operating together and strong people-to-people links. This foundation is developed through a comprehensive exercise program, along with shared membership of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting–Plus.
Australia values Singapore’s continued deployment in Afghanistan, including its contribution to Combined Team-Uruzgan.
Australia and Singapore maintain a comprehensive program of bilateral and multilateral exercises involving Air Force, Army and Navy. Singapore recently participated in the Royal Australian Air Force’s largest multilateral exercise, PITCH BLACK.
We discussed the continuation of Singaporean unilateral and joint training in Australia. In June this year, Dr Ng and I signed the Treaty- level Oakey Agreement, which enables the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) to continue to station a helicopter training squadron and conduct flying activities at the Army Aviation Centre in Oakey, Queensland. Singapore also conducts extensive basic pilot training at Pearce Air Force Base.