Singapore, Thailand to strengthen defence ties

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen meeting Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at the Government House in Bangkok yesterday.
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen meeting Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at the Government House in Bangkok yesterday.PHOTO: SINGAPORE MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

Singapore and Thailand plan to strengthen defence cooperation and expand maritime cooperation and counter-terrorism efforts, Singapore's Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said in a statement yesterday.

This came after Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen met Thai premier Prayut Chan-o-cha and Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan. Dr Ng, who is on a three-day visit to Thailand, met General Prayut at the Government House in Bangkok yesterday.

"During the call, both sides reiterated the close bilateral relationship, and how both countries could work together in areas of mutual interest, such as maritime security, counter-terrorism and cyber security," Mindef said. "Gen Prayut also affirmed Thailand's support for Singapore's upcoming Asean chairmanship in 2018."

Singapore assumes the rotating role of heading the 10-nation regional bloc next year.

Earlier yesterday, Dr Ng attended the opening ceremony of the Asian Defence and Security Exhibition 2017 at Impact exhibition and convention centre just outside the capital, and visited the booths of Thai and Singaporean defence firms.

He held a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the exhibition with Gen Prawit, who also holds the post of defence minister.

"Dr Ng congratulated Gen Prawit on the successful organisation of (exhibition), and complimented the growing capability of the Thai defence industry," Mindef said.

They also reaffirmed the excellent bilateral defence ties, and agreed to strengthen defence cooperation, such as through more navy-to-navy interactions, as well as at multilateral forums like the Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting.

Dr Ng was accompanied by Mr Keith Tan, the deputy secretary (policy) at Mindef, as well as other Mindef and military officials.

Singapore and Thailand have close defence relations. Singapore trains its troops in Thailand, while officers on both sides maintain regular contact through annual exercises like Cobra Gold and Cope Tiger, high-level visits, professional exchanges, and the cross-attendance of courses and seminars.

Today, Dr Ng will meet Singapore air force personnel training in Thailand, before leaving the country.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 07, 2017, with the headline 'S'pore, Thailand to strengthen defence ties'. Print Edition | Subscribe