India and Singapore on Tuesday signed a bilateral agreement under which their armies will conduct joint training and exercises in India.
The agreement takes forward a pact the two governments signed on Oct 13, 2003 on defence cooperation and seeks to provide facilities in India to the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) for joint military training and exercises.
Defence Secretary Vijay Singh signed the agreement on behalf of India, while Permanent Secretary (Defence) Chiang Chie Foo was the signatory from the Singapore side.
The training and exercises involving both armour and artillery would be carried out at the Babina and Deolali ranges in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra respectively.
“Such exercises were previously conducted on the basis of an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) the two countries entered into in January 2005, which was extended from time to time, the last being up to June 2008. Future joint training exercises would be conducted under the provisions of this bilateral agreement,” a defence ministry spokesman said.
The agreement provides for the temporary basing of a detachment of SAF personnel for a maximum period of eight weeks, up to two times a year. However, small SAF detachments not exceeding eight personnel may be allowed to be stationed with their equipment in India.
“Besides the bilateral agreement, associated protocols on training, administration and logistics, as also on financial arrangements were also signed. The agreement comes into effect from today (Tuesday) and shall remain in force initially for a period of five years,” the spokesman added.
The Singapore official also called on Defence Minister AK Antony to discuss matters of mutual interest in the defence sphere. He also met Indian Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta, who is the current chairman of the chiefs of staff committee, and Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor.