Diplomacy matters, but deterrence even more so to safeguard Singapore's interests

Strong air, navy forces key to Singapore's forward defence posture to safeguard its interests

Singapore's defence spending has been in the limelight in recent weeks. Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced last month that the Government will spend about $22.7 billion this year, or about 30 per cent of its total expenditure, on defence, security and diplomacy efforts. Of this amount, some $15.5 billion will be allocated to the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) - up from $14.8 billion the previous financial year.

The announcement came on the same day the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) launched its first Invincible-class submarine. Last week, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen added that Singapore intends to buy the F-35 Lightning II. Mindef had announced earlier that the stealth fighter is the foremost possibility to replace the F-16 Falcon in the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) from the 2030s.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 05, 2019, with the headline 'Diplomacy matters, but deterrence even more so'. Print Edition | Subscribe