India and Singapore sign Submarine Rescue deal

Many experts consider this to be another attempt by India to strengthen ties with South East/Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. Image Courtesy - Pixabay.

India and Singapore held their fifth Defence Ministers Dialogue virtually, via video conferencing.

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By Vikram Malik, Maritime Direct India Correspondent

The crucial Defence Ministers Dialogue, held annually between India and Singapore, saw the two nations express satisfaction at the way they have cooperated on defence engagements, notwithstanding the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

Central to the dialogue was an agreement on submarine rescue support which the Indian Navy will provide to its Singaporean counterpart, in case of an emergency. Issuing a joint statement on what is being referred to as the Implementing Agreement on Submarine Rescue Support and Cooperation, both Indian and Singaporean Navies have vowed to support and cooperate with each other, whenever the need arises.

This closely follows the agreement on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) cooperation, signed in August 2020 between armed forces of both countries.

Indian Diaspora at the heart of Indo-Singaporean Ties

Nearly 10% of Singapore’s population is of Indian origin. In fact, two out of the eight Presidents that Singapore has had so far, came with Indian ancestry.

This aspect was especially highlighted during the dialogue, with Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh expressing his gratitude to Singapore Armed Forces for its support of Indian nationals.

On his part, Singaporean Defence Minister Dr. Ng Eng Hen congratulated India on the way it has managed to contain the spread of Coronavirus in the country, despite its large population and wide geographical spread.

DSRV to the rescue

The abovementioned submarine rescue will happen with the help of two DSRVs or Deep-sea Submergence Rescue Vehicles in possession of the Indian Navy.

This is an entire system comprising of a Side Scan Sonar, a Remote Operations Vehicle, and the primary Submarine Rescue Vessel, along with other related equipment.

A unique facet of this system is its remote mobilisation capability, even from distant locations, by road or by air, to enable submarine rescue operations.

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