Singapore, Indonesia defence ministers reaffirm ties: Mindef

Singapore's Dr Ng Eng Hen and Indonesia's Mr Prabowo Subianto on the sidelines of the Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting in Bangkok in 2019. PHOTO: MINDEF
Singapore's Dr Ng Eng Hen and Indonesia's Mr Prabowo Subianto on the sidelines of the Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting in Bangkok in 2019. PHOTO: MINDEF

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and his Indonesian counterpart Prabowo Subianto spoke on the telephone yesterday, reaffirming the close and longstanding bilateral defence relationship between the two countries, said the Ministry of Defence (Mindef).

They exchanged views on regional security challenges and discussed ways to support each other, as well as strengthen bilateral defence cooperation amid the Covid-19 pandemic, said Mindef in its statement. This includes cooperation in areas such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and maritime security.

Dr Ng thanked Mr Prabowo for strongly supporting the Shangri-La Dialogue - even though it could not be held this year - and invited him to visit Singapore when the regional Covid-19 situation improves, said Mindef.

The Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual regional security summit that was scheduled for June 4 to 5 in Singapore, was cancelled due to a deterioration in the global corona-virus situation.

Both ministers will attend the Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) and ADMM-Plus, which will be held virtually later this month.

On Singapore-Indonesia ties, Mindef said: "Both defence establishments have enjoyed decades of close friendship and continue to deepen their cooperation to tackle common regional security challenges."

Dr Ng's call with Mr Prabowo came two days after he spoke with Malaysian Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Dr Ng and Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri reaffirmed their commitment to dialogue and engagement to ensure peace and stability in the region and to strengthen bilateral cooperation amid the pandemic, said Mindef. Dr Ng thanked him for his strong support for the Shangri-La Dialogue and expressed regret that Mr Ismail Sabri was not able to conduct his introductory visit in person as planned.

Mindef said they exchanged views on the Covid-19 situation in both countries and discussed ways to support each other.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Dr Ng said he offered some medical equipment to the Malaysian Armed Forces "to assist them in the difficult month ahead".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 04, 2021, with the headline 'Singapore, Indonesia defence ministers reaffirm ties: Mindef'. Subscribe