Delegations of senior naval officers from Asia and around the world converged on Singapore May 14-16 for the 9th International Maritime Defence Exhibition & Conference (IMDEX) Asia 2013. The conference and trade expo also featured the presence of 16 warships from nine countries at the Changi Naval Base. Among them was the U.S. Navy’s littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) on its first deployment to the region.
There were a record 61 delegations from 48 countries and 194 exhibitors attending this year’s event.
“The Asian Pacific region is tremendously important to us. Five of our seven defense treaties are out here; six of the top 20 economies are here. So it’s been important to our past, and it’s definitely important to our future.”
– U.S. Navy Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert.
More than a trade show, the event also served as a forum for defense professionals to exchange views and enhance cooperation in the maritime domain.
Singapore Defense Minister Dr. Ng Eng Hen said open dialogue and communication is a key principle for security cooperation in this part of the world.
“Commitment to internationally accepted norms and legal frameworks provide the only viable and peaceful way to build trust and prevent conflicts when differences in views arise. In disputes, all sides should exercise maximum restraint and avoid escalating tensions or precipitating confrontations,” said Dr. Ng.
With the presence of senior leadership and operating units, the Republic of Singapore navy (RSN) hosted the Maritime Information-Sharing Exercise (MARISX) 2013 and the 4th Western Pacific Naval Symposium Multilateral Sea Exercise (4th WMSX) at the Multinational Operations and Exercises Center located in the Changi Command and Control Center. The purpose of the exercises was to strengthen the information-sharing process and enhance the interoperability among the participating navies and maritime agencies.
Among the ships participating were:
- French navy patrol vessel L’Adroit;
- Royal Thai navy HTMS Rattanakosin (F441);
- Indian Navy Shivalik-class frigate INS Satpura (F48) and Kora-class corvette INS Kirch (P62);
- Royal Australian Navy Armidale-class patrol craft HMAS Bathurst (ACPB 85);
- Malaysian frigate KD Lekiu (F 30);
- Indonesian KCR 40-class patrol craft KRI Kujang (642) and Diponegoro-class corvette KRI Frans Kaisiepo (368);
- Republic of Korea KDX-2-class destroyer ROKS Wang Geon (DDG 978); and,
- USS Freedom (LCS 1).
Host-nation ships included Victory-class corvette RSS Valiant (P91); mine countermeasure boat RSS Bedok (M105); Fearless-class patrol vessels RSS Justice (85), RSS Freedom (86), and RSS Dauntless (99); and frigates RSS Formidable (F68) and RSS Tenacious (F71).
“The Asian Pacific region is tremendously important to us,” said U.S. Navy Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert. “Five of our seven defense treaties are out here; six of the top 20 economies are here. So it’s been important to our past, and it’s definitely important to our future.
“We’re developing and increasing our partnerships; strengthening our relationships with our allies and our partners; and looking for our new partners where it makes sense,” Greenert said.
Speaking to reporters, Greenert took the opportunity to acknowledge all the U.S. Navy men and women deployed in the region. “I appreciate their willingness to invest in something greater than themselves.”