NANJING, CHINA - The People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China and the Singapore Armed Forces wrapped up their biggest joint war games to date, in which troops from both sides fired their weapons and practised their battle manoeuvres.
The exercise, codenamed Cooperation, was the third in the series and played out in the 12km square training area in Nanjing, China.
It is the first time that both armies are putting their infantry troops through conventional land warfare scenarios, stepping up the intensity the joint military drill. The previous two editions in 2009 and 2010 were based on anti-terror drills that tested how soldiers respond to chemical and explosive threats, among other missions.
Seventy soldiers from each side were put through their paces in a series of missions which included shooting practices and clearing obstacles. Also involved in the drill were the PLA's three main battle tanks
The nine-day drill, which started on Nov 1, culminated in a combined live-firing exercise on Sunday, that saw the men and machines teaming up to take out 84 targets.
The final outcome was witnessed by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, who attended Sunday's closing ceremony at the Xingli training area. Also present was the Nanjing military region commander, General Cai Yingting.
Dr Ng, who is in China for a week-long visit that will end this Friday, thanked General Cai for hosting the Singapore troops, saying that the joint exercise builds good and close military ties between both sides.
"There are very few things that forge closer ties than charging up the hill together, sleeping on the same barracks, bathing in cold water together and eating food together."
General Cai said this year's joint exercise has taken Sino-Singapore ties to new highs as it improvesdthe camaraderie of the troops who fight shoulder to shoulder in the battlefield.