From March 4 to 21, the armies of India and Singapore conducted the 11th iteration of their bilateral armor exercise, Bold Kurukshetra, in another manifestation of their growing defense ties.
India and Singapore enjoy a close military relationship. In November 2015, the two sides agreed to an annual Singapore-India Defense Ministers’ Dialogue (DMD) as part of an upgraded Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) first inked in 2003 as they commemorated the 50th anniversary of their defense relationship. As I had written previously, the first DMD was successfully held last June ahead of the Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia’s premier security forum (See: “Singapore, India Hold First Defense Ministers’ Dialogue”).
The army component of the bilateral defense relationship includes arrangements that allow the Singaporean Army to train in India. As I have pointed out before, the city-state has secured these deals with a few key countries that afford it the much-needed space to train abroad that it does not have at home (See: “The Enduring Strategic Logic of the New Australia-Singapore Military Training Deal”).
The two armies also conduct bilateral armor and artillery exercises, codenamed Exercise Bold Kurukshetra and Exercise Agni Warrior respectively. The 10th iteration of Exercise Agni Warrior was held from November 13 to December 3 last year in Devlali, India, and saw Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Defense Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman visit to observe the exercise.
This month, the two sides carried out the 11th iteration of Exercise Bold Kurukshetra. Around 380 soldiers from the Singapore Army and Indian Army participated in this year’s exercise, which were conducted at the Babina Field Firing Range in Central India. The exercise involved integrated maneuvers as well as joint planning and training.
According to a statement by Singapore’s defense ministry (MINDEF), the highlight of this year’s exercise was the integrated live-firing by infantry fighting vehicles from both armies. Commander 3rd Singapore Division, Brigadier-General Alfred Fox and Deputy General Officer Commanding of the 31st Indian Armored Division, Brigadier-General Salil Sharma reportedly witnessed the live-firing and interacted with the Singapore Army and IA troops deployed for the exercise.
Few additional details were provided about the latest iteration of the exercise. But it was another reminder about the importance of the growing India-Singapore defense relationship.