India and Singapore have signed Bilateral Agreement for Navy Cooperation that will allow Indian Navy ships logistical support, including refuelling at Singapore’s Changi Naval Base located near disputed South China Sea (SCS).
The agreement was announced during second Defence Ministers’ Dialogue between India and Singapore held in New Delhi.
The Bilateral Agreement for Navy Cooperation will allow Indian Navy ships sailing through disputed SCS or in eastern waters of Andaman Sea to refuel, restock and if needed rearm at Singapore’s Changi naval base. It will allow Indian Navy to directly engage with Singaporean authorities to use their facilities unlike present structure that take weeks if political clearances need to be obtained in Singapore.
The naval logistics agreement is first for India with country located east of strategically important Strait of Malacca. Singapore is strategically situated on major international sea routes – Straits of Singapore and Malacca – and connects Pacific and Indian Oceans making it economically important. It acts as centre for international communications, transportations and trade to southeast Asia. The nearest Indian base is in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The agreement looks at increased cooperation in maritime security, joint exercises, temporary deployment between India and Singapore. The Changi base will enhance Indian Navy’s operational reach. It will also play prominent role in protection of naval vessels, supplies, repair facilities, administration and logistics support. It will give boost to India’s Act East Policy and strengthen India’s role for safety, stability, regional peace and navigational freedom.