Rein­vig­o­rat­ing Strate­gic Part­ner­ships

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi made of­fi­cial vis­its to Malaysia and Sin­ga­pore re­cently and has rein­vig­o­rated the strate­gic part­ner­ships with th­ese two coun­tries

SP's MAI - - FRONT PAGE - [ By R. Chan­drakanth

A] t the in­vi­ta­tion of Dato’ Sri Mohd Na­jib Tun Ab­dul Razak, Prime Min­is­ter of Malaysia, Naren­dra Modi un­der­took an of­fi­cial visit to Malaysia on Novem­ber 23, 2015. Ear­lier, Modi par­tic­i­pated in the ASEAN–In­dia Sum­mit and East Asia Sum­mit on Novem­ber 21-22, 2015. The two Prime Min­is­ters held of­fi­cial talks in Putrajaya and jointly in­au­gu­rated the To­rana Gate in Brick­fields, Kuala Lumpur, a gift from In­dia to Malaysia, as a sym­bol of In­dia-Malaysia Friend­ship.

Peace and Se­cu­rity in the Re­gion

Dur­ing the of­fi­cial talks, the two Prime Min­is­ters ac­knowl­edged that In­dia-Malaysia re­la­tions have made im­pres­sive strides in re­cent years. The two lead­ers ac­knowl­edged the con­tri­bu­tion made by Malaysia and In­dia in pro­mot­ing growth, eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and sta­bil­ity in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion, and recog­nised each other’s re­spon­si­bil­ity in the pro­mo­tion of peace, de­vel­op­ment and se­cu­rity of the re­gion, and be­yond, based on a con­ver­gence of po­lit­i­cal and so­cio-eco­nomic in­ter­ests and as­pi­ra­tions.

De­fence and Se­cu­rity

The two Prime Min­is­ters agreed to en­hance de­fence ex­changes through reg­u­lar di­a­logue at var­i­ous lev­els, in­clud­ing be­tween the De­fence Min­is­ters, se­nior de­fence of­fi­cials, Chiefs of the Armed Ser­vices and through Ser­vice-to-Ser­vice Staff Talks. The two also agreed to con­vene the next In­dia-Malaysia De­fence Co­op­er­a­tion Meet­ing at De­fence Sec­re­tary/Sec­re­tary Gen­eral level. They wel­comed the out­come of the joint ex­er­cises Hari­mau Shakti and to up­grade the ex­er­cises to com­pany level, and sub­se­quently to tri-ser­vices ex­er­cises. There was agree­ment on set­ting up the Su-30 Fo­rum for co­op­er­a­tion in train­ing, main­te­nance, tech­ni­cal sup­port and safety-re­lated is­sues, build­ing on the as­sis­tance by In­dia for suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion of the Su-30MKM train­ing pro­gramme by In­dian pi­lots in Malaysia.

In­dia and Malaysia also agreed to pro­mote joint col­lab­o­ra­tion on projects of mu­tual in­ter­est in the de­fence sec­tor in­clud­ing in the ar­eas of de­fence equip­ment and in­dus­try, re­search, train­ing and ca­pac­ity build­ing; hold an­nual talks be­tween the Heads of the In­dian Coast Guards and the Malaysian Mar­itime En­force­ment Agency in­clud­ing dur­ing Head of Asian Coast Guard Agen­cies Meet­ing (HACGAM).

Con­demn Ter­ror­ism

The two lead­ers ex­pressed strong con­dem­na­tion for ter­ror­ism in all its forms and man­i­fes­ta­tions, and called upon all States to re­ject ter­ror­ism and bring per­pe­tra­tors of ter­ror­ism to jus­tice. In this con­text, they wel­comed the on­go­ing co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries on counter ter­ror­ism and agreed to fur­ther en­hance co­op­er­a­tion in this di­rec­tion. They agreed to con­tinue shar­ing of in­for­ma­tion and best prac­tices to ad­dress the chal­lenges posed by ter­ror­ism, and other tra­di­tional and non-tra­di­tional threats.

They also agreed to dis­cuss fur­ther the sign­ing of the mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing (MoU) on Trans­fer of Sen­tenced Pris­on­ers, which is an im­por­tant hu­man­i­tar­ian ges­ture to­wards sen­tenced pris­on­ers.

Strate­gic Part­ner­ship with Sin­ga­pore

At the in­vi­ta­tion of Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Min­is­ter of the Repub­lic of Sin­ga­pore, Modi paid an of­fi­cial visit to Sin­ga­pore from Novem­ber 23 to 24.

Both Prime Min­is­ters held sub­stan­tive dis­cus­sions in ar­eas of mu­tual in­ter­est, signed the Strate­gic Part­ner­ship, and wit­nessed the sign­ing and ex­change of nine bi­lat­eral doc­u­ments, and the launch of com­mem­o­ra­tive stamps to cel­e­brate the 50th an­niver­sary of diplo­matic re­la­tions.

Po­lit­i­cal, De­fence and Se­cu­rity Co­op­er­a­tion

The two Prime Min­is­ters de­cided to sus­tain the mo­men­tum of bi­lat­eral re­la­tions through reg­u­lar high-level vis­its. They en­cour­aged the con­tin­u­a­tion of reg­u­lar ex­changes un­der the agreed di­a­logue mech­a­nisms be­tween the For­eign Min­istries and the De­fence Min­istries. They reaf­firmed the im­por­tance of de­fence re­la­tions be­tween In­dia and Sin­ga­pore in their Strate­gic Part­ner­ship. In this re­gard, they wel­comed the sign­ing of the re­vised De­fence Co­op­er­a­tion Agree­ment (DCA) which will up­grade and strengthen bi­lat­eral de­fence re­la­tions. They agreed to hold reg­u­lar high-level meet­ings, in­clud­ing at the level of the De­fence Min­is­ters. They en­dorsed the con­tin­u­a­tion of joint mil­i­tary ex­er­cises and train­ing be­tween their armies, air forces and navies.

They wel­comed fur­ther col­lab­o­ra­tion in de­fence tech­nol­ogy, and en­cour­aged co-de­vel­op­ment and co-pro­duc­tion be­tween the de­fence in­dus­tries of the two coun­tries.

The two Prime Min­is­ters de­cided to ex­pand co­op­er­a­tion in mar­itime se­cu­rity. In this re­gard, they wel­comed the sign­ing of the Tech­ni­cal Agree­ment on the Shar­ing of White-Ship­ping In­for­ma­tion be­tween the In­dian Navy and the Repub­lic of Sin­ga­pore Navy in July 2015 and they wit­nessed the sign­ing of the doc­u­ments for its op­er­a­tional­i­sa­tion. They en­dorsed reg­u­lar ex­changes be­tween the two Coast Guards and looked for­ward to greater bi­lat­eral Coast Guard Co­op­er­a­tion.

Se­cu­rity Round­table

They noted the use­ful dis­cus­sions be­tween both sides at the In­di­aSin­ga­pore Na­tional Se­cu­rity Round­table meet­ings and af­firmed its con­tin­u­a­tion on an an­nual ba­sis. They wel­comed the re­vival of the Joint Work­ing Group on In­tel­li­gence Co­op­er­a­tion on Com­bat­ing Ter­ror­ism and Transna­tional Or­gan­ised Crime in or­der to in­ten­sify co­op­er­a­tion on in­for­ma­tion and in­tel­li­gence shar­ing on

terror net­works and work to­gether to share ex­pe­ri­ences on deal­ing with the grow­ing phe­nom­e­non of rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion. They noted the on­go­ing in­ter­ac­tions in cy­ber is­sues and agreed to strengthen bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion in this area. The two Prime Min­is­ters also agreed to es­tab­lish ap­pro­pri­ate mech­a­nisms for reg­u­lar bi­lat­eral con­sul­ta­tions and ex­change of real-time in­for­ma­tion be­tween the rel­e­vant agen­cies in In­dia and Sin­ga­pore. They wit­nessed the sign­ing of the MoU on co­op­er­a­tion in the area of cy­ber se­cu­rity. They wit­nessed the sign­ing of a MoU on co­op­er­a­tion in com­bat­ing il­licit traf­fick­ing in nar­cotic drugs, psy­chotropic sub­stances and their pre­cur­sors.

Di­a­logue be­tween De­fence Min­is­ters

Es­tab­lish­ing more reg­u­lar di­a­logues be­tween both De­fence Min­is­ters, deep­en­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion in mar­itime se­cu­rity and boost­ing co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Sin­ga­pore and In­dia’s de­fence in­dus­tries were some of the key points that came up. Th­ese are the agree­ments stated in the re­vised DCA be­tween Sin­ga­pore and In­dia. Un­der the am­bit of an En­hanced De­fence Part­ner­ship, the re­vised DCA was signed by Min­is­ter for De­fence Dr Ng Eng Hen and his In­dian coun­ter­part Manohar Par­rikar. The DCA was also sym­bol­i­cally ex­changed by Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary for De­fence Chan Yeng Kit, and In­dian For­eign Sec­re­tary Dr Subrah­manyam Jais­hankar, in the pres­ence of both Prime Min­is­ters.

Com­ment­ing that the re­vised DCA was a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone from the first one signed more than 10 years ago, Dr Ng said: “Our de­fence ties have com­mit­ted to meet­ings at the high­est level be­tween De­fence Min­is­ters reg­u­larly…and more mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary ties and ex­er­cises.

“Specif­i­cally (there is) also closer col­lab­o­ra­tion for mar­itime se­cu­rity…(and) an agree­ment on ex­change of in­for­ma­tion for white-ship­ping.” (White-ship­ping refers to com­mer­cial ship­ping in­for­ma­tion about move­ment of cargo ships.) He added that this col­lab­o­ra­tion put de­fence re­la­tions be­tween both coun­tries on a bet­ter foot­ing, and sig­nalled that Sin­ga­pore and In­dia had be­come closer de­fence part­ners.

On the topic of mar­itime se­cu­rity, Dr Ng said that both coun­tries val­ued the im­por­tance of peace and sta­bil­ity, with re­duced ten­sions and min­i­mal pos­si­bil­ity of any dis­rup­tion to global trade and mar­itime lanes.

Mar­itime Se­cu­rity

Dr Ng said: “Mar­itime se­cu­rity is an es­sen­tial life­line for economies or trade in this re­gion, whether it’s the South China Sea or Strait of Malacca. In­dia’s voice will be heard and we share com­mon per­spec­tives in terms of com­mon sta­bil­ity.”

The re­vised DCA also co­in­cided with the sign­ing of a Tech­ni­cal Agree­ment on the Shar­ing of White-Ship­ping In­for­ma­tion be­tween the Repub­lic of Sin­ga­pore Navy and the In­dian Navy in July this year. With the tech­ni­cal agree­ment, this has al­lowed Sin­ga­pore’s In­for­ma­tion Fu­sion Cen­tre and In­dia’s Direc­torate of Net­work Cen­tric Oper­a­tions to ex­change real-time white-ship­ping in­for­ma­tion for greater mar­itime aware­ness and sense-making.

The re­vised DCA is seen as bring­ing the de­fence re­la­tions be­tween Sin­ga­pore and In­dia a few notches up, as both coun­tries com­mem­o­rate 50 years of diplo­matic re­la­tions.

De­fence in­ter­ac­tions be­tween both coun­tries in­clude high-level vis­its, pol­icy di­a­logues, joint mil­i­tary train­ing, de­fence tech­nol­ogy co­op­er­a­tion, cour­ses, sem­i­nars and other pro­fes­sional ex­changes.

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and the Prime Min­is­ter of Sin­ga­pore Lee Hsien Loong dur­ing the sign­ing cer­e­mony in Is­tana, Sin­ga­pore, on Novem­ber 24, 2015

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