Terror attacks are reminder that SAF's capabilities must continue to evolve: President Tony Tan

President Tony Tan Keng Yam speaking to soldiers outside an observation tower on Jurong Island, on April 26, 2017.
President Tony Tan Keng Yam speaking to soldiers outside an observation tower on Jurong Island, on April 26, 2017.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
President Tony Tan Keng Yam being shown around an observation tower on Jurong Island, on April 26, 2017.
President Tony Tan Keng Yam being shown around an observation tower on Jurong Island, on April 26, 2017.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - With at least four terrorist attacks across the world in the past month alone, the Singapore Armed Forces must continue to evolve in its capabilities to ensure the Republic's continued peace and economic success.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam said this on Wednesday (April 26) during a visit to operationally ready national servicemen from the 823rd Battalion of the Singapore Infantry Regiment (823 SIR) at Jurong Island.

The national servicemen are deployed there as part of the Island Defence Task Force.

Under the task force, national servicemen work closely with Home Team agencies to protect key installations, such as Changi Airport, Jurong Island and Sembawang Wharves.

"Matters of terrorism and extremism are things you read about every day. A number of cities in Egypt, Stockholm, St Petersburg and most recently in Paris. And these do not take place in locations which are far away from people, in fact they are right at the heart of town," he said after the visit.

"So we have to keep on evolving our capabilities, and what I've seen of the capabilities today for the SAF is very encouraging to me," said Dr Tan, who added that the use of technology is necessary as Singapore's security cannot rely on having a larger armed forces.

These technologies include equipment used by the taskforce, such as the mobile long range acoustic device and body-worn camera, which Dr Tan viewed during his visit.

In light of the 50th anniversary of national service this year, Dr Tan added that the operation of 823 SIR is particularly interesting as it is fully manned by national servicemen.

"I'm really heartened by their commitment and dedication in order to fulfil their duties and do it cheerfully. I know that it involves commitment, dedication and sacrifice not just on their part, but also on their families and loved ones...

"So long as we have that spirit, and people are willing to come up and do their part, supported by the community, Singapore will continue to be safe," he said.