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India, Singapore sign key agreement on maritime cooperation

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Chief of Naval Staff of Indian Navy, Admiral R K Dhowan calling on Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen at the Ministry of Defence, Singapore. A Singapore MoD photo

SINGAPORE (BNS): India and Singapore have signed an agreement to enhance maritime-information sharing between the two navies during the visit of Indian Navy Chief Admiral R K Dhowan to Singapore.

The Navy Chief, during his maiden visit to the city-state from July 20 to 23, met Singapore's Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen at the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) on Tuesday.

He also called on Chief of Defence Force Lt Gen. Ng Chee Meng and Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Lai Chung Han after inspecting a Guard of Honour at MINDEF earlier that day.

As part of his programme, Adm. Dhowan visited the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)'s Information Fusion Centre and the Changi Naval Base, where the two Navy Chiefs signed a Technical Agreement (TA) on Sharing White-Shipping Information, which will enhance maritime-information sharing between the two navies, the Singapore Defence Ministry said in a statement.

White-shipping refers to commercial shipping information about movement of cargo ships.

The RSN and the Indian Navy conduct the annual Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX) together and this year's SIMBEX, held in May, was the 22nd in the series.

Both navies also interact regularly through high-level visits, dialogues, joint military training, courses and other professional exchanges.

"Adm. Dhowan's introductory visit underscores the warm and longstanding defence relations between Singapore and India, which have strengthened over the years since the signing of the Defence Cooperation Agreement in 2003.

"Following Dr Ng's official visit to India in August 2014, both defence establishments agreed to strengthen defence relations under the ambit of an enhanced defence partnership this year. This would allow both sides to explore new areas of cooperation for mutual benefit," the official statement from the Singapore MoD said.

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