China And Singapore To Explore New Initiatives To Boost Their Military Programs
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While it is known that Asian giants China and India have already rapidly built up their already huge military arsenals, the tiny, prosperous Southeast Asian city-state of Singapore had been quietly ramping up defense expenditures at a rate disproportionate to its size and population. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Singapore despite having only 5.1 million people and an annual GDP of $260 (USD) billion, was the fifth – largest arms importer in the world from 2007-2011. Only India, China, Pakistan and South Korea spent more on weapons than the tiny country Singapore over that period. It can be fully said that the country had and is currently heavily engaged with military equipment manufacturers in purchasing moreweapons in case of a possible threat.

Currently Singapore has consistently supported a strong U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. In 1990, the U.S. and Singapore signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which allows the U.S. access to Singapore facilities at PayaLebar Air Base and the Sembawangwharves. Despite this agreement, Singapore still ensures that their artilleries is at par by making sure that they include technological warfare as force multipliers, such as those in the area of C41 integration, which enables its various units to fight in an unified manner. Thus military equipment manufacturers for Singapore’s SAF have to guarantee that it is on the same level as the country’s focus which is sophisticated and superior weaponry. Part of the innovations that Singapore has made is ensuring that MINDEF (Ministry of Defense) is one of the largest employers of engineers and scientists in Singapore and the SAF continues to devote considerable resources to defense research and development (R&D) and experimentation – 5% and 1% of the defense budget, respectively.

Recently as well, several Chinese news outlets announced that China had taken an important step towards achieving “self-reliance” through the “breaking” of a foreign monopoly on military-use computer airborne systems. Many details of the two real-time operating systems (RTOS) have yet to be released, yet their implications for China’s national military equipment manufacturers are nonetheless important, given it has long been criticized for its limited progress in indigenous innovation resulting from an over-reliance on foreign importation of technology and knowledge. The former Chinese president, Hu Jintao originally tasked Chinese military technology developers with “blazing a path of development of integrating civilian and military spheres” the gap may be closing significantly through established methods of imitation, co-production and theft, but as this occurs it can be expected that indigenous innovation increasingly features as a component of Chinese procurement strategy.

It is no doubt that these two Southeast Asian powerhouse can fund the innovations that they so desire in terms of military equipment manufacturing, the following question however occurs on up to what extent will they be doing in order to boost their military programs to the next level?


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