Singapore minister on Tuesday said the blacklisting of its military firm by India has not affected defence ties between the two sides and the armed forces of the two sides were moving closer.
In his lecture on ‘Security Cooperation in a Changing Strategic Landscape’, Singaporean Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen also called for a role for India in the security architecture of Asia-Pacific and South East Asia region.
“Actually no, it has not affected ties... Singapore has a working mechanism where even defence companies recognise that they have to work themselves as per international norms and ST Kinetics is well poised to defend itself,” he said when asked if the blacklisting had affected military ties between two sides.
Asked if he would take up the issue with his Indian counterparts, Hen said, “I won’t be bringing it up with Indian counterparts” and “I don’t think we need to say anything on their behalf“.
ST Kinetics was one of the six companies formally blacklisted by the Defence Ministry for 10 years after a CBI probe into their alleged role in the Ordnance Factory Scam of 2005.
The Singaporean Defence Minister said the two sides have moved closer as their armed forces hold joint exercises every year.
The Singapore Army is holding a joint artillery exercise at Deolali in Nashik district in Maharashtra with Indian Army and recently, their air forces had also held joint drills over West Bengal.
On India’s role in South East Asia, Hen said, “India’s greater engagement promotes its economic interests in Asia Pacific and ASEAN.”
He also highlighted the importance of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+) which includes 18 countries including India, the US, China and Russia in maintaining peace and stability in the region.