This week, Germany’s cyber chief made his first visit to Singapore in his current capacity. The interaction put a focus on the cyber domain, which has been an area of focus within the broader defense relationship between the two countries over the past few years.
As I have been noting in these pages, Singapore has been paying keen attention to the cyber domain as a developed, highly-networked country which relies on its reputation for security and stability to serve as a hub for businesses and attract talent. Cognizant of growing challenges it has faced in the cyber realm, the city-state has been increasing its own capabilities at home as well as strengthening partnerships with countries abroad.
One of the countries in this respect has been Germany, which has also been increasing its focus on the cyber domain in recent years as well. Last year, during Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s official visit to Germany, the two sides inked a joint declaration of intent on cybersecurity cooperation covering several areas of collaboration including information exchanges, joint training and research, and the sharing of best practices to promote innovation in the cyber realm. The cyber realm also featured as an area of cooperation within the new enhanced defense cooperation agreement both sides inked this June in Singapore building on the first one inked in 2005.
Last week, this aspect of collaboration was in the spotlight again when the chief of Germany’s Cyber & Information Domain Service (CIDS), Ludwig Leinhos, paid a visit to Singapore. The trip, which lasted from August 8 to August 10, was Leinhos’ first trip to the city-state in his new position.
During his visit, Leinhos met with a range of Singapore officials, including Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen, Permanent Secretary for Defense Chan Yeng Kit, and Chief of Defense Force Melvyn Ong. His visit also included other engagements including visiting cyber and technology agencies in Singapore and participating in a roundtable discussion with Deputy Secretary and Defense Cyber Chief David Koh.
According to Singapore’s defense ministry, during the meeting between Leinhos and Ng, both sides reaffirmed the importance of cyber defense within their wider defense relationship, and also discussed issues of common interest such as cyber attacks and fake news.
Few additional specifics were provided as to the details of their discussions. But as both countries continue to build on their defense relationship in the coming years, the cyber domain will continue to be an aspect of ties that will factor into those conversations.