Singapore, October 4 (ANI): Ong Keng Yong, Ambassador-at-Large at the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs has urged both India and China to solve disputes via peaceful means.
Speaking to ANI about the India-China confrontation and its impacts on regional issues, he said, "Two big countries will have different opinions on how to run things. We can put across our respective stand on different issues but in end, we should close this discussion and get the best deal out of this - what is your best option, what is my best option."
He also discussed India-Singapore relations, the code of conduct in the South China Sea and Singapore-ASEAN concern about aggressive Chinese policies.
Talking about the Singapore-ASEAN concern about aggressive Chinese policies, the Singapore Ambassador said, "From our perspective and South Asia's, we have just found a way to negotiate, and compromise. I think that's a way forward."
Discussing the hiccups and apprehensions on some policy-related issues with India, Ong said, "Basically, the challenge is how to meet the expectations of India and Singapore. We are a small city-state, and our approach to some economic and international issues differs from India. So, the question is how we meet halfway and get the best deal out of this."
The Singapore Ambassador further stressed on conclusion of negotiations going on the code of conduct in the South China Sea.
"There must be a conclusion, otherwise we cannot reassure our shipping community, international companies dealing with business in this part of the world. I think the important thing now is that both sides have to sit down and go through all the possible scenarios and options and then have a commonsensical conclusion. If they maintain their respective positions, we cannot get any conclusion," said Ong.
The close ties between India and Singapore have a history rooted in substantial commercial, cultural and people-to-people links across a millennium.
Following the conclusion of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) of 2005, this robust relationship was elevated to a Strategic Partnership in 2015 during the visit of PM Modi and on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
India and Singapore added new momentum and direction to their Strategic Partnership in 2018, anchored in the Official visit of PM Modi to Singapore. Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong also visited India in 2018 to participate in the Republic Day Celebrations in New Delhi and co-chair the 2018 ASEAN India Commemorative Summit (AICS).
Recently, a Joint India-Singapore Ministerial delegation, comprising Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Singapore Lawrence Wong, Minister for Trade and Industry of Singapore, Gan Kim Yong and Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance Minister of India, called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Ministers briefed PM Modi about the outcomes of the inaugural session of the India-Singapore Ministerial Roundtable (ISMR), held in New Delhi.
In the area of defence, India and Singapore have a longstanding and comprehensive partnership, which includes, Annual Ministerial and Secretary level dialogues; Staff level talks between three wings of the Armed forces; training of Singapore Army and Air force in India (10th edition in 2019) every year; annual exercises including India's longest uninterrupted naval exercise with any other country (26th edition in 2019); ship visits from Navy and Coast Guard.
Singapore participates in IONS and multilateral Exercise MILAN hosted by the Indian Navy.
Singapore's membership of IORA and India's membership of ADDM+ (ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting - Plus) provides a platform for both countries to coordinate positions on regional issues of mutual concern.
New developments include the inaugural Trilateral Maritime Exercise between India, Singapore and Thailand (SITMEX). (ANI)