On 1 June, I met with Singapore’s Minister of Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen in the margins of the 11th International Institute for Strategic Studies Asia Security Dialogue: The Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
Dr Ng and I signed the Treaty-level Oakey Agreement, which will enable 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.
The signing of the new Agreement reinforces the close and long-standing bilateral defence relationship between Australia and Singapore. This Agreement will succeed the agreement on the RSAF’s helicopter training in Oakey signed in October 1996.
Dr Ng and I agreed that I would visit Singapore in early 2013 to conduct the inaugural Defence Ministers’ Dialogue between Australia and Singapore.
We announced our agreement to hold a formal annual Defence Ministers’ Dialogue in March this year during Dr Ng’s visit to Australia.
I took the opportunity to personally advise Dr Ng that Australia will assume the leadership of Combined Team – Uruzgan (CT-U) in Afghanistan in late 2012.
Singapore is a partner in the Combined Team Uruzgan along with the United States and Slovakia.
Australia values Singapore’s contribution in Afghanistan, notably the deployment of headquarters staff in Tarin Kot and institutional trainers in Kabul. The ADF and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) are currently working in partnership to train Afghan National Army personnel to detect and identify Improvised Explosive Devices.
The Australia and Singapore Defence relationship also sees practical cooperation on counter-piracy operations, combined training activities and shared membership of the Five Power Defence Arrangement and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus.
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