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India offers Singapore facility for testing, launching missiles in Chandipur

India has already opened its military training facilities, such as air force and artillery firing ranges, to Singapore’s armed forces because of the island city-state’s territorial limitations. The two countries have regularly held artillery exerc...

Nov 21, 2019, 08.26 AM IST
Defence minister Rajnath Singh and his Singapore counterpart Dr Ng Eng Hen were present on Wednesday for the exchange of a Letter of Intent to register the commitment of both sides.
NEW DELHI:India has offered Singapore to use its Chandipur Integrated Test Range for launching and testing missiles and rockets.

India has already opened its military training facilities, such as air force and artillery firing ranges, to the Singapore armed forces, due to the country’s territorial limitations. The two countries have also regularly held artillery exercises for over a decade.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Singaporean counterpart, Dr NG Eng Hen, on Wednesday were present for the exchange of a Letter of Intent to register the commitment of both sides to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate the use of the Chandipur Integrated Test Range by the Singapore defence establishment, the defence ministry said. This happened while they co-chaired the 4th Singapore-India Defence Ministers' Dialogue (DMD) in Singapore.

The Integrated Test Range under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was set up to provide launch facilities for performance evaluation of rockets, missiles and air-borne weapon system. Several missiles such as the Prithvi, Agni, Brahmos and tactical weapons such as Akash and Nag have been tested from there.

Singh, who is on visit to Singapore from November 18-20, also offered setting up of a joint test facilities for artillery and armoured ammunition under India’s Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme. Dr Ng agreed to explore opportunities for joint collaboration. “The ministers also agreed to explore cooperation in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, geo-spatial data sharing and cyber security,” the ministry said.

Both sides also agreed to hold the 5th DMD in India next year on mutually convenient dates. The DMD 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. Since then, the relationship has deepened to include military cooperation across all three defence services of India and Singapore, defence technology cooperation and cooperation through multilateral engagements.

Dr NG Eng Hen appreciated India’s continued support for the training the Singapore armed forces. During the 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,” the ministry said.

The two sides also appreciated the growth in cooperation in the maritime domain. The inaugural edition of the Singapore-India-Thailand Maritime Exercise (SITMEX) in the Andaman Sea was conducted in September. This exercise underscores the shared responsibility of the countries to work together in keeping sea lines of communications open and strengthens interoperability between the three countries. “The participating navies have found value in the exercise and have agreed to conduct the exercise on a yearly basis,” the ministry said.

Singh reaffirmed India's full support and active participation in the regional security architecture, the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus) and its many initiatives. Dr Ng expressed support for India’s upcoming co-chairmanship of the ADMM Plus Experts’ Working Group on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR). Both sides welcomed the conclusion of a Letter of Intent to reaffirm mutual commitment to explore deepening HADR cooperation in areas such as information sharing and capacity building. The strengthening of ties between India and Singapore gains importance in light of China’s military posturing in the region.
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