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NEWS | March 10, 2024

U.S. Indo-Pacific Commander Travels to Singapore

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command

SINGAPORE — Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, visited Singapore on an overseas trip from March 6 to 10, to increase shared understanding of regional challenges and strengthen the expansive and enduring U.S.-Singapore relationship.

During the visit, Aquilino met with Singapore Minister of Defence Dr. Ng Eng Hen, Chief of Defence Force Vice Adm. Aaron Beng, and U.S. Ambassador to Singapore Jonathan Kaplan, and discussed bilateral efforts in maritime security and commitment to increased training and cooperation opportunities.

Aquilino spoke with officers during a distinguished speaker dialogue at Goh Keng Swee Command and Staff College (GKS CSC), the top officer training institute of the Singapore Armed Forces. He credited the facilities there as an example of Singapore's dedication to fostering a capable armed forces through rigorous education and training, and he highlighted the importance of relationships and accountability toward safeguarding a free and open Indo-Pacific for all nations.

“What we believe is sovereignty for all nations, no matter the size, with an equal voice to settle disputes peacefully through the international rules of law,” Aquilino said. “That’s what we are fighting for.”

Aquilino also spoke with thought leaders in a special lecture, titled “Navigating Tides: Unity Amidst Complexity,” held by the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. Formerly known as the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, ISEAS holds conferences, lectures and seminars dedicated to socio-political, security, and economic trends and developments in Southeast Asia amid the wider geostrategic and economic environment. 

The U.S. and Singapore recognize the crucial role of education, training, and cross-cultural ties toward strengthening their bilateral relationship, and have increased opportunities for interaction and exchange in the last several years. In recognition of this, Aquilino was presented the Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Tentera) or Meritorious Service Medal (Military), signed by Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and presented by Minister of Defence Hen. The award was given for “substantive contributions toward enhancing the strong and longstanding defence relationship between the United States and Singapore” and highlighted Aquilino’s role in increasing regional capacity building efforts, deepening people-to-people ties through inclusivity, and expanding cooperation in the digital domain.

Singapore is one of the United States’ strongest bilateral partners in Southeast Asia and has worked as a close partner for more than 55 years, supporting the rules-based economic and security order in the region. The U.S. is committed to our partnership with Singapore and other like-minded countries to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.