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After Kalaikunda, Singapore to train at Indian Army firing ranges

After allowing Singapore to use IAF’s Kalaikunda airbase and nearby firing ranges to train its pilots...

| New Delhi |
August 13, 2008 1:38:06 am

After allowing Singapore to use IAF’s Kalaikunda airbase and nearby firing ranges to train its pilots, India has signed another agreement with the country permitting it the use of Babina and Deolali firing ranges for armour and artillery exercises.

The agreement, signed by Defence Secretary Vijay Singh and Permanent Secretary (Defence) Chiang Chie Foo here on Tuesday, will allow Singapore to train its ground forces in India for the next five years.

Significantly, in a first, India has also allowed Singapore to station a small detachment of Army personnel and equipment (Artillery Guns and Tanks) at the Babina and Deolali ranges on a permanent basis for the duration of the agreement. “The agreement provides for temporary detachment of Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) personnel for a maximum period of eight weeks, up to two times a year. However, small detachments not exceeding eight personnel from SAF may be allowed to stay with their equipment stationed in India,” the Defence Ministry spokesperson said.

Under the agreement, India will provide firing range facilities and infrastructure to SAF for the purpose of joint military training and exercises. While the MoD did not specify the amount, Singapore will pay India for the use of the ranges by its Armed Forces.

The Ministry spokesperson said that besides the bilateral agreement, the two sides also signed associated protocols on training, administration and logistics and financial arrangements. The agreement comes into effect from Tuesday and shall remain in force for a period of five years.

In October last year, the Government signed a crucial defence agreement with Singapore allowing it to use the Kalaikunda airbase to train its pilots. The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), plagued with a shortage of air space and training assets, had been visiting the West Bengal airbase regularly for joint exercises.

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