SINGAPORE: Warships from around the world gathered at Changi Naval Base on Monday (May 15), as Singapore hosted its first international maritime review – in what observers see as a show of naval diplomacy.
The proceedings included a parade, a land review and a sea review. A total of 46 warships and four aircraft from 21 countries, including Singapore, took part.
The 20 other countries are: United States, China, Russia, France, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Myanmar, Philippines, Canada, Pakistan, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Brunei.
The review comes as the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) marks its 50th year, and comes on the back of three multinational groups last week, where three RSN vessels led warships into Singapore from the Malacca Strait and the South China Sea.
President Tony Tan Keng Yam, who reviewed the warships, said the maritime review “marks the coming of age” of Singapore’s navy, and is “testament to the strong friendships and extensive network Singapore enjoys across the world”.
“In the challenging and uncertain security environment today, having only good hardware and strong capabilities is not sufficient,” he said in a speech at the event. “Most of the security threats we face today are transnational in nature. No single country can effectively manage these threats on its own. To ensure a stable maritime order as well as safe and secure seas, multilateral cooperation is key.”
Changi Naval Base was also renamed RSS Singapura – Changi Naval Base on Monday. Dr Tan said the base plays a critical role in regional security, “being located along vital sea lanes connecting the Strait of Malacca and South China Sea”.
“Changi Naval Base hosts more than 100 foreign warships a year, and it is here where Singapore develops strong friendships with other navies,” he said.
“RSS Singapura was the name of RSN’s first headquarters,” he added. “Naming Changi Naval Base as RSS Singapura – Changi Naval Base will serve as a reminder to our sailors of the RSN’s heritage and the RSN’s vital role in defending Singapore.”