Singapore’s Minister of Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen is in Australia for his first bilateral visit.
I met Dr Ng today in Canberra for a formal bilateral meeting to discuss Australia-Singapore Defence cooperation and strategic issues.
We last met in Singapore to celebrate the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) 40th Anniversary in November 2011.
In recognition of the close Defence and strategic relationship between Australia and Singapore, we agreed that Defence Ministers would meet for a formal annual Defence Ministers’ Dialogue.
The Australia and Singapore Defence relationship is based on practical cooperation in Afghanistan, respective contributions to counter-piracy operations, combined training activities and shared membership of the FPDA and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus.
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 commanders to detect and identify Improvised Explosive Devices.
We discussed the continuation of Singaporean unilateral training in Australia. Dr Ng and I welcomed the conclusion of negotiations to renew 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.
Tomorrow in Perth, Dr Ng and I will visit the Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) at Campbell Barracks. We will lay a wreath at Kings Park to commemorate the Australian and Singaporean military personnel captured or killed during the Battle for Singapore.
Dr Ng will also visit RAAF Base Pearce where he will meet SAF troops currently stationed at 130 Squadron.
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