- India and Singapore agreed on greater cooperation and activity in the Strait of Malacca and the Andaman Sea even as the two countries concluded a wide ranging naval agreement for maritime cooperation including logistical support.
- The Strait of Malacca and Indian Ocean are key sea lanes of communication.
- The two countries concluded a bilateral agreement for naval cooperation, which includes maritime security, joint exercises and temporary deployments from the naval facilities of each other and mutual logistical support.
- The Indian Navy to visit the Changi naval base more often.
- The bilateral naval agreement has provision for mutual logistical support.
- Early this year, the Indian Navy permanently deployed a frontline warship at the mouth of the strait to keep an eye on the increasing Chinese movements in the Indian Ocean as part of its mission-based deployment.
- The agreement would give the Navy the ability for extended deployments in the region.
- It made sense for countries to cooperate not only to establish maritime security but also to maintain freedom of navigation because
Key choke point
- The comments assume significance as the strait is considered a critical choke point for global commerce and is seen by China as a vulnerability for its energy security.
- The development is likely to be followed closely by Beijing.
- Singapore had accepted India’s proposal to institutionalise naval engagements in the shared maritime space, including setting up maritime exercises with like-minded countries and other ASEAN partners.
- The two countries also agreed to explore joints projects in research and development.