NEW DELHI — India and Singapore will bolster intelligence and information sharing efforts as part of a bilateral agreement signed Nov. 20 during a joint naval exercise.

The renewed defense cooperation agreement was signed in the presence of visiting Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Visakhapatnam, southern India.

India has participated in a series of bilateral and multilateral naval exercises with Association of Southeast Asian Nations member countries.

Indian and Singaporean navies participated in the Nov. 10-21 Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise, or SIMBEX, in the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal. The drills saw manned and unmanned aircraft participate alongside surface warships and submarines. The 25th SIMBEX witnessed a diverse range of exercises at sea ranging from live-fire drills with missile launches; heavyweight torpedo and medium-range gun/anti-submarine rocket firings; advanced anti-submarine warfare exercises, submarine rescue demonstrations; integrated surface and anti-air warfare; UAV operations; and cross-deck helicopter flights.

Sitharaman reaffirmed India’s belief that disputes should be resolved through peaceful means and in accordance with the universally recognized principles of international law, according to an Indian MoD statement.

China has expanded its military presence in the South China Sea, much to the chagrin of neighboring countries.

Hen said Singapore supports India’s deep engagement with ASEAN member states, in particular during patrols of the Strait of Malacca. He added that Singapore looks forward to a trilateral maritime exercise with Thailand in the Andaman Sea.

In June 2013, Singapore signed a five-year pact with India to use Indian military facilities for Army and Air Force training. That part of the agreement was renewed Nov. 20.

Singapore is the only country to which India offers its military facilities for training.

The two countries had signed an agreement in June 2018 concerning coordination of logistics and services support for naval ships, submarines and naval aircraft (including shipborne aviation assets).

Vivek Raghuvanshi is the India correspondent for Defense News.

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