India to open Chandipur missile test range to Singapore
22 November 2019
India will open its integrated test range for military and strategic equipment to a foreign country for the first time with the country signing an agreement with Singapore allowing the island nation to use Indian missile test range in Odisha from where strategic nuclear missile tests are conducted as well.
The agreement was arrived at during the 4th India-Singapore Defence Ministers' Dialogue, during which the two countries exchanged a Letter of Intent paving the way for it to conduct live firing of missiles like the Spyder air defence system at the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in Odisha.
The 4th India-Singapore Defence Ministers' Dialogue (DMD) was co-chaired by defence minister Rajnath Singh and his Singapore counterpart Dr Ng Eng Hen. India and Singapore have a longstanding and comprehensive defence partnership
This is for the first time that India will open its integrated test range for any foreign country.
Speaking on this strategic development, Singapore defence minister Dr Ng said that for a small country like Singapore it would be impossible to fire missiles like the Spyder ground-based air defence systems.
Thanking India for providing this facility, Dr Ng said India is a large country with a large landmass, and we understand also that this is a significant gesture on their part. He further said that this facility will be used very productively.
The Integrated Test Range (ITR), a well-equipped Test and Evaluation (T&E) centre of DRDO, is set up to provide safe and reliable launch facilities for performance evaluation of rockets, missiles and airborne weapon system, according to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) website.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh expressed confidence that with this defence pact, India and Singapore will enter a new era of defence partnership encompassing both bilateral defence cooperation and defence industry cooperation.
Both the countries also identified new areas of cooperation, including information exchange, the launch of microsatellites in India, geo-spatial data sharing, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.
Singh further invited Singapore to invest in research, development and testing facilities in the upcoming defence industrial corridors in India to which Dr Ng said that they will explore opportunities for joint collaboration.
This landmark defence cooperation is a right step in intensifying defence ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) nations.