Singapore is deeply committed to fostering a world where the rule of law is upheld and where dialogue and negotiation are the chosen pathways to resolving conflicts and disputes, the country’s President Tharman Shanmugaratnam has said.
The prosperous city-state also supports stronger international cooperation to prevent crises from occurring, and to be prepared in advance for any shocks to the system when they do occur, the president on Saturday told 460 newly minted officers of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).
In a speech at the officer cadet commissioning parade, the president noted that the foundations of the international order were under strain, just when the need for global cooperation and the rule of law was greatest.
“On its part, Singapore continues to be deeply committed to fostering a world where the rule of law is upheld, and where dialogue and negotiation are the chosen pathways to resolving conflicts and disputes,” he said.
However, this ability to engage with other countries is predicated on having a credible SAF that continually evolves, sharpening its capabilities and adopting cutting-edge technologies, The Straits Times on Sunday cited Tharman as saying at a military service review.
This strength underwrites the security umbrella essential to us, and lays the foundations for our economic and diplomatic aspirations, said the president.
The complex security challenges facing Singapore are best resolved through defence and diplomacy, which requires a strong SAF, Tharman said.
The republic’s ability to engage regionally and globally is anchored on the capability of the SAF to defend Singapore’s sovereignty and interests, he added.
He cited examples of recent evolutions, such as the Army and Air Force working closely with the Digital and Intelligence Service (DIS) for the first time at the recent Exercise Forging Sabre in September 2023.
Established in October 2022, the DIS is the fourth arm of the SAF, which provides timely intelligence and safeguards Singapore against digital threats such as cyberattacks and electronic warfare.
In July, the navy received its first invincible-class submarine, the Impeccable, which has longer endurance, improved sensors, and a wider range of payloads, according to the broadsheet report.
Beyond the technology and organisation structures, Tharman said it is the collective will and fighting spirit of its people that truly define the SAF.
The simple truth is that the strength of our military lies ultimately in our people, he said.
And it takes good leadership to motivate our people, especially the generations of national servicemen (which is mandatory two-year service for Singapore youths), and to develop and harness their abilities to the fullest potential,” the president said.
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