Singapore minister pays tribute to country's armed forces

With superpower rivalry and a war in Europe, the world is at a dangerous point in history and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) must be prepared for all eventualities to keep Singapore’s defence and deterrence strong, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen.

“In these uncertain times, Singaporeans look to the SAF to provide that stability and protection, and the SAF will give succour,” he said in his annual SAF Day message yesterday.

SAF Day pays tribute to all servicemen and women who have played a part in making the country safe.

Speaking at the Temasek Polytechnic in Tampines yesterday, Ng said peace dividends from the end of both World War II and the Cold War have “all but dried up”, with Europe standing divided and hopes of integration with Russia dashed.

He said the impact of the war in Ukraine will be felt worldwide, such as in the sharp rise in prices for staples and fuel.

This in turn may lead to political uncertainty in many countries as they become mired in debt, or their citizens starve or become dissatisfied.

Ng also said the relationship between US and China is at its worst in decades, warning that “there is always that danger in an unhealthy relationship that physical blows may come about, whether by accident or intentionally”.

“Singapore, at the crossroads of Asia, a maritime and air hub, with thousands of multinational companies ... headquartered here, is the canary in the mine of the global economy,” he said.

“We are acutely vulnerable to events even far away, and cannot escape being impacted.”

But Singapore’s military forces stand ready and able to defend the country on air, land and sea as well as in cyberspace.

“As we mark 55 years of national service this year, we take pride that operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen) are the backbone of national defence – ordinary citizens each performing an extraordinary role to defend those they love and our way of life in our home,” said Ng.

Three other rededication ceremonies were held yesterday at the Procter and Gamble Singapore Innovation Centre at Biopolis, the Trade Association Hub in Jurong and Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre. — The Straits Times/ANN

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