The Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen met Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, General (Rtd) Wiranto on 11 October to reaffirmed the close and long-standing bilateral defence relations between Indonesia and Singapore.
The two Ministers discussed ways to enhance bilateral defence cooperation and also transnational security issues, such as terrorism and cyber security.
Since August 2016, Singapore Police and other agencies have stepped up inland and border security measures, after six terror suspects were arrested in Batam for suspicion of trying to hit Marina Bay in Singapore with rockets fired from Batam.
Both Ministers agreed to deepen relations between the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the Indonesian National Defence Forces (TNI), and to cooperate further to deal with the threat of terrorism. GEN (Rtd) Wiranto also invited Dr Ng to visit Jakarta.
Both defence establishments interact regularly through exercises, visits, professional exchanges, and cross-attendance of courses. These interactions enhance mutual understanding and camaraderie between the two militaries.
A joint exercise between the Singaporean and Indonesian armies, the annual Singapore Armed Forces Kartika (SAFKAR) Indopura, was conducted last month from 16 to 23 September.
Singapore and Indonesia also interact at multilateral forums such as the Shangri-La Dialogue, the ASEAN Defence Minister’s Meeting (ADMM) and the ADMM-Plus.
Dr Ng wrote on his Facebook, “General Wiranto is a good friend of Singapore and knows the SAF well, having started many joint initiatives when he was Chief of TNI and Indonesian Defence Minister from 1998 to 1999. Good that we have someone of his experience as we tackle together challenges related to terrorism and maritime security.”
Tempo in Indonesia reported on 11 October that General (Rtd) Wiranto, while attending the Singapore International Cyber Week in Singapore, emphasised the importance of cooperation between ASEAN countries to deal with cyber crime attacks.
“Since the beginning of 2016, Indonesia was active in the establishment of cyber norms along with 20 other countries in the United Nations Government Group Expert,” he said.
He then said there must be cooperation to increase the capacity of a joint investigation and development functions of digital forensics in law enforcement agencies of ASEAN.
Wiranto advocated the appointment of points of contact or contact institutions that deal with cyber security.
“The list is essential to facilitate communication and coordination in dealing with the cyber incident, which may have an impact on two or more ASEAN countries,” he said.