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IMDEX 2019: Opening ceremony with Dr NG ENG HEN as guest of honour


On the first day of International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (IMDEX) Asia 2019, on May 14, during the opening ceremony, Dr NG ENG HEN, Singapore's Minister of Defence, had a speech about the changes that the Singapore's Navy will have to face in the future.


IMDEX 2019 Opening ceremony with Dr NG ENG HEN as guest of honour Opening ceremony of the IMDEX Asia 2019 exhibition with Singaporean Minister of Defence, Dr NG ENG HEN, as the guest of honour (Picture Source: Navy Recognition)


During this 12th edition of the IMDEX Asia - which first started in 1997 - 70 foreign delegations and 10.000 visitors coming from more than 60 countries attend the exhibition where more than 230 companies are displaying their products. In addition to that, 21 vessels came for the occasion, including 4 Singapore Navy ones.

During his speech, the Minister of Defence stated that "This region [the ASEAN region], at its heart, is a maritime region. From historical times, seminal influences have travelled across seas to impact countries here". Then he added that "the seas still hold powerful forces that can continue to shape the destinies of our countries, individually or collectively. Indeed, as global commerce has increased, so too has the significance of sea lines of communication as global arteries for trade".

"Singapore sits at the confluence of two key arterial networks formed by the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea. As a result, 25% of all the traded goods in the world on more than 1,000 ships pass through the Singapore Strait each day. [...] Despite global uncertainties, including trade disputes and security tensions, trade volumes through the seas have been going up and are expected to increase further."

Therefore, Dr NG ENG HEN called to "literally and figuratively calm seas in this region" in order to "ensure that global commerce continues and good relations between countries are maintained".

Nevertheless, he reminded the attendance that "traditional maritime threats persist, such as transnational maritime terrorism". And to counter that terrorism, he added that "collectively, we need to step up our intelligence efforts as the centre of gravity of global terrorism shifts away from the Middle East and moves to other regions of the world".

He then added that other threats to maritime peace exist, such as the extension of maritime territorial claims on fisheries and other resources made by some countries, and asked the world to discuss a "strong consensus" for "common rules for the seas and their use" because today, "the disruption of vital [naval] supply lines would be devastating [for any country].

As a conclusion, we could say that the speech of the Singapore's Minister of Defence, Dr NG ENG HEN, mainly aimed to ask the worldwide navies to redefine maritime laws in order to avoid problems linked to (increasing) maritime shipping in the future. This call appears to be really important and logical for a country like Singapore, which is really depending on the seas.