New Zealand and Singapore’s Defence Ministers Gerry Brownlee and Dr Ng Eng Hen today observed Exercise Thunder Warrior, an artillery live-firing exercise at the Waiouru Training Area.
This year marked the 20th anniversary of the Singapore Armed Forces’ (SAF) exercise.
The ministers also conducted the inaugural Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting.
On behalf of Singapore, Dr Ng thanked the government and people of New Zealand for their strong support in providing opportunities for the SAF to train in New Zealand.
Mr Brownlee and Dr Ng said both nations remained committed to the relationship and looked forward to further opportunities to strengthen defence cooperation.
Building on this positive momentum, Ministers agreed to initiate an annual formal Ministerial meeting to conduct discussions on issues of mutual concern.
The key principles of the 2009 Defence Cooperation Arrangement were endorsed at the ministers’ meeting, particularly that cooperation between like-minded countries on defence and security issues is an essential part of responding effectively to threats to regional peace and stability.
Ministers agreed to explore opportunities for further cooperation between the SAF and NZDF, including training opportunities in New Zealand.
Mr Brownlee and Dr Ng welcomed the establishment of annual Air Force Staff Talks, an Education and Training Working Group and an Operational Working Group, as ways to discuss new cooperation initiatives.
They acknowledged the historical collaboration between Singapore and New Zealand on overseas operations, including in Timor-Leste and Afghanistan.
Mr Brownlee noted that Singapore is New Zealand’s closest defence partner in South East Asia and that New Zealand supported the upcoming counter-terrorism deployment of the Singaporean Armed Forces medical team to Iraq.
Mr Brownlee affirmed New Zealand’s continued commitment to the Five Power Defence Arrangements and ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus framework.
Dr Ng welcomed the Royal New Zealand Navy’s participation of a Naval Task Group to Singapore for Exercise Bersama Shield and the International Naval Review in April 2017.