MOSCOW - Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen is in Moscow from Tuesday to Friday (April 26 to 29) to attend the fifth annual Moscow Conference on International Security, where high-level defence and military leaders worldwide discuss security issues.
Dr Ng also held his first bilateral meeting with Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Singapore's Defence Ministry said on Wednesday.
Both ministers affirmed the friendly defence relationship between Singapore and Russia, and discussed strategies for addressing the threat of terrorism.
At the Moscow conference, Dr Ng spoke at a plenary session on how the increasing interdependence between countries in a globalised world calls for greater cooperation and collaboration between militaries.
To tackle common security challenges and those that are transnational in nature, Dr Ng stressed that "we must step up dialogue and practical cooperation".
He added that several regional platforms - such as the East Asia Summit, the Asean Regional Forum, and the Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus - allow countries from the Asia-Pacific and beyond "to come together for dialogue and cooperation".
On the Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus, Dr Ng noted that next week, Singapore, Brunei, Australia and New Zealand will co-host a large-scale exercise focusing on maritime security and counter-terrorism.
The regional grouping brings together the 10 Asean states and other Asia-Pacific stakeholders such as the United States, Japan, China, Russia and Australia.
"In fact, Russia is one of the biggest contributors to the exercise and will send one destroyer, two helicopters, two auxiliary ships, two special forces teams and headquarters staff. Through these exercises, our different armed forces learn more about each other, build trust and build new capabilities that we need to tackle the threats to our common prosperity," said Dr Ng.
He also encouraged the establishment of a common set of air, sea and sub-sea norms, protocols and mechanisms among militaries to guide behaviour in the Asia-Pacific region, defuse tensions and reduce the risks of miscalculations in view of the security challenges in the region.
Besides the Moscow security conference, Dr Ng attended an informal meeting of South-east Asian and Russian Defence Ministers in the city as well. There, the ministers discussed international security issues and the need for greater cooperation to address complex challenges, especially the threat of terrorism.
Dr Ng welcomed stronger Asean-Russia partnership through the Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus. He also emphasised that greater collaboration and more cooperation initiatives were required to prevent terrorism from gaining a foothold in South-east Asia.