SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): More than 230 servicemen from the Singapore and Indonesian navies took part in a six-day bilateral military exercise aimed at enhancing their ability to counter underwater threats together.
Held in Singapore, and in Batam and the waters off Bintan in Indonesia, from Aug 11 to Tuesday (Aug 16), this year's Joint Minex Pandu exercise included joint mine-countermeasure operations, diving and boarding operations, live gunnery firing, professional exchanges on mine-hunting and clearance diving techniques, and table-top planning exercises.
The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) sent two Bedok-class mine countermeasure vessels (MCMVs) - the RSS Bedok and RSS Punggol - and personnel from the Naval Diving Unit for the exercise, while the Indonesian Navy (TNI AL) sent two Pulau Rengat-class MCMVs - KRI Pulau Rengat and KRI Pulau Rupat - and a dive team.
Singapore's Ministry of Defence said in a statement on Tuesday: "The RSN and TNI AL conduct regular professional exchanges, exercises and visits, and also collaborate through the multilateral Malacca Straits Patrol. The RSN's other bilateral exercise with the TNI AL, Exercise Eagle Indopura, is the Singapore Armed Forces' longest-running bilateral exercise with a foreign military."
The ministry added: "These activities underscore the close and longstanding defence relationship between Singapore and Indonesia."
The opening ceremony for the latest bilateral exercise was held at Changi Naval Base on Aug 11.
It was officiated by Colonel Rinson Chua, deputy commander for Singapore's Maritime Security Command and Maritime Security Task Force, and First-Admiral Hudiarto Krisno Utomo, commander of TNI AL's Sea Combat Task Group, 1st Fleet Command.
Col Chua said in his opening remarks: "Indonesia and Singapore are both maritime nations. We are close neighbours and share a common maritime border. Our ships meet each other at sea every day.
"Our continued commitment to this important bilateral exercise, and the increase in scope and complexity of the exercise, is testament to the deep level of trust and collaboration between both of our navies."