Sunday, June 24, 2012

Singaporean Air Force using Indian base to cough up more

New Delhi: Arguing that maintenance costs have gone up, India has asked its best friend in South East Asia to cough up more money in exchange for using its military bases for the training of the Singapore Royal Air Force.
The two countries are racing against time to complete negotiations for renewing the lease agreement with Singapore for long-term basis, with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong scheduled to arrive in India in the second week of July.
"We have asked for more money due to the current economic situation... We hope to reach an agreement with the Singaporeans soon," said a senior government official.
India has had a long tradition of defence relations with Singapore, which has given high priority to its military preparedness following its bitter split from Malaysia in 1965.
But, in October 2007, India for the first time allowed a foreign country to station its foreign troops and defence facilities on a long-term basis – which was a demonstration of India’s reliance on Singapore as an anchor for its Look East policy.
The bilateral agreement for the conduct of joint military training and exercises in India between IAF and Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) was signed in Delhi, as part of the annual Defence Policy Dialogue.
Incidentally, Singapore and India have also signed a similar bilateral agreement for army training, but it will come up for renewal next year.
For Singapore, which has an area of just 700 square kilometer, overseas training for its fighter pilots primarily flying F-16 fighter jets is necessary, in the absence of any suitable open tracts of land and airspace.
“It has been a win-win situation for both sides. We get upgraded facilities, while they get space to conduct their exercises,” said the senior official.
In the last five years, Singapore has set up its own facilities at Kalaikonda air base in West Bengal, including residential block and stores.
“Singapore has similar agreement with other countries like United States and Australia, but the training comes here at a comparatively cost effective ate,” said the official, adding that they expected the escalation of price to be easily afforded by the prosperous city-state.
Singapore has been the fourth highest defence spender in the world on per capita terms, after US, Israel and Kuwait. 
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released Monday, it is also the fifth largest importer of arms for the last five years. This year, Singapore had allotted nearly 24 percent of its annual budget towards defence, amounting to $9.6 billion.
For India, Singapore has been its most vocal supporter in the regional security architecture. It is also India’s largest trading partner in ASEAN.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
© Copyright 2012-2013 — Asian Defence News. All Rights Reserved