Singapore and Australia expected to enter new strategic partnership

Mr Abbott will depart for Singapore late on Saturday with hopes of signing a new strategic partnership with Singapore.


Mr Abbott will also host an investment seminar and promote business opportunities especially in northern Australia.

On Monday in official talks with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong a stronger and enhance defence partnership is expected to be formalised along with announcements about more cooperation in fighting the terrorist threat.

Singapore’s High Commissioner to Australia Burhan Gafoor said it is an historic and important visit that hopes to build on an already strong relationship.

‘We hope that after the conclusion of the comprehensive strategic partnership we can work much more closely and increase our defence cooperation with Australia.”

“There is another dimension in terms of the security challenges we face. Both Australia and Singapore face challenges in terms of dealing with violent extremism. I think there is a lot of scope for security agencies to cooperate and collaborate because this is a threat that faces us together.”

“What we would like to do is bring this existing cooperation (on fighting violent extremism) to a higher level because I think it is quite clear that many of the foreign fighters are returning to South East Asia and many countries are grappling with this challenge.”

Peter Jennings from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute says Australia and Singapore are becoming closer.

“I think we will see a closer relationship across a number of areas. Singapore and Australia have always been close but there are a range of factors that will bring the countries even closer together.”

“Doubts about Indonesia’s capacity to lead in the regional grouping of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) concern about China in the South China Sea and a common problem both Australia and Singapore face  around domestic radicalisation.”

On cooperation on counter terrorism, Peter Jennings says information sharing is crucial.

“We have some things we can learn from Singapore on their own efforts on de-radicalisation.”

“I think we need to make sure that our intelligence sharing is as close as it can be.”

This visit is important for Australia. Singapore is Australia’s closest friend in South East Asia and Singapore is the 5th largest foreign investor in Australia.

The trip has an important historic element. It will  commemorate 50 years of diplomatic ties a process that began when a young Lee Kwan Yew visited Canberra just before independence in 1965.

“Australia has been a long standing friend of Singapore. Australia was the first very country that recognised Singapore’s independence” High Commissioner Gafoor said.

“We largely see the world from similar strategic perspectives and that is largely the legacy of Lew Kuan Yew.” Peter Jennings told SBS.

This year Singapore’s founding father Lew Kuan Yew died. The country is also celebrating 50 years of independence.