India will continue to extend facilities to Singapore to continue training of its air force pilots at a facility in Kalaikunda air base in West Bengal.
An agreement to extend the arrangement for another five years was signed by India and Singapore during the three-day visit of Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to India.
The deal was inked by Indian Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma and Singapore Permanent Secretary for Defence Chiang Chie Foo after Lee held talks with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh.
India is already training the Singaporean air force personnel at the Kalaikunda air base in West Bengal, where Singapore has permanently placed its air assets for training purposes since October 2007.
"Prime Minister Lee and I have decided to step up bilateral cooperation and exchanges in the fields of Defence and security. To this end, we have just signed a memorandum of understanding to renew the bilateral arrangement between our air forces on joint training and exercises," Manmohan Singh said in a statement after signing of the agreement and their bilateral talks.
Singapore is the first country that has been allowed to deploy its military assets and troops in India for training and joint exercises with their Indian counterparts, a clear indication of the strong ties that New Delhi has with the city-state from South East Asia.
The bilateral military agreement for joint training and exercises in India between Indian Air Force (IAF) and Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) was signed as part of the annual Defence Policy Dialogue held between Shashi Kant Sharma and Chiang Chie Foo.
Singapore air force uses its F-16s combat planes of American origin at Kalaikunda air base the joint training with India. This provide Indian Air Force the advantage of learning about the F-16's capabilities, for India's arch rival, Pakistan, too has a fleet of these fourth-general combat aircraft in its fleet.
Incidentally, Singapore will spend on upgrading the training facilities in Kalaikunda, an advantage that accrues to the IAF.
The two countries also have another agreement of a similar kind for training of Singaporean army troops, but that deal will come up for renewal in 2013.
Singapore, being a nation of just 700 square kilometer in size, depends on other nations such as the US and Australia for setting up military training facilities for its troops.
After the US, Israel and Kuwait, Singapore has been listed by Stockholm-based SIPRI as the fourth largest Defence spender in the world in per capita terms.