Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Bin Osman will visit New Delhi to attend the 9th India-ASEAN dialogue early next month, the Indian High Commission here said today. The dialogue, to be held from July 2-4, is an annual international conference of political and economic leaders, and opinion-makers of the ASEAN countries with their Indian counterparts to discuss intensification and broadening of political, strategic, economic and civil society interaction in the region. Maliki will also hold bilateral meetings with his Indian counterparts in external affairs and defence ministry in New Delhi. The talks will also set the stage for the visit of Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen to India later this year for India-Singapore annual defence ministers’ dialogue.
These meetings are in addition to regular ongoing annual staff talks between the Army, Air Force and Navy of the two countries. “India is taking steps to further facilitate bilateral exercises in India with the Singapore armed forces. We have just conveyed that Singapore armed forces personnel going to train in India under bilateral agreement will be given gratis visa,” Indian High Commissioner to Singapore Jawed Ashraf told PTI.
Meanwhile, defence officials from the two countries are preparing for the 25 years of the Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercises (SIMBEX). India-Singapore defence relations are set to deepen further, after the 12-day deployment of India Naval ships and the visit of Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba to Singapore in May for the International Maritime Review to mark 50 years of Singapore Navy and bilateral exercises SIMBEX, he said.
India is also preparing to host Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan later this year as part of the high-level bilateral meetings between the two countries. Details of the ministerial visits are being worked out. “India and Singapore will continue to maintain a high momentum of engagement across the broad spectrum of their bilateral relations to expand and deepen the strategic partnership between the two countries.
“There have been several important developments in the recent past, including the Amravati capital city project. Singaporean companies are looking keenly at opportunities arising from implementation of Goods and Services Tax in India,” Ashraf said.