SOMETIMES battles are not only fought and won during wars. Peacetime efforts to reach out and strengthen ties are probably more effective in cementing good relations and “winning the peace”. A great example of this was the visit by the Halifax-class frigate HMCS (Her Majesty Canadian Ship) Vancouver to Singapore that arrived on 16th May 2018.
The port visit is part of Canada’s engagement in the region. Canadian sailors interacted with civilians and local counterparts to promote cooperation and friendship. They participated in outreach activities such as a visit to the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled Singapore (MINDS), a charitable donation to Singapore Children’s Society and other community engagement events. HMCS Vancouver’s visit came two weeks before the Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Harjit Sajjan, arrives in Singapore to lead Canada’s delegation to the 2018 IISS Shangri-La Dialogue.
Canada and Singapore enjoy strong and friendly bilateral relations. With over 100 Canadian companies located in Singapore, and bilateral trade totaling more than $2 billion a year, the commercial relationship is particularly robust. Both countries are signatories to the recent CPTPP. Shared interests also make Singapore and Canada natural partners on important global issues, such as climate change and regional security. The two countries work closely together in regional and international organizations, given Canada’s status as a Dialogue Partner with ASEAN; our collaboration in in APEC and the WTO; as well as through Singapore’s contributions as an observer to the Arctic Council.
HMCS Vancouver is deployed to the Asia-Pacific region on Operation PROJECTION to conduct forward naval presence operations in the region and support international naval exercises with allies and partner nations. Operation PROJECTION is one element of Canada’s ongoing presence in Asia-Pacific, and a tangible expression of our commitment to the defence and security of the region. HE Lynn McDonald, the High Commissioner of Canada to Singapore, said, “Security in Asia-Pacific is inseparable from Canada’s security. We are delighted to once again welcome HMCS Vancouver to Singapore, following its last visit in October 2016. This fourth Canadian ship visit in the past two years is a concrete demonstration of our deepening defence and security engagement with Singapore.”
>> HMCS Vancouver is a Halifax-class frigate that carry extensive anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare weapons and sensors to complement their substantial anti-air warfare defenses. The combination of these weapon and sensors systems, coupled with state of the art damage control and machinery control systems, make frigates one of the most advanced warship designs in the world.
>> Canada’s Halifax-class frigates have been deployed extensively to deal with a wide range of domestic and international security challenges, including the threats of terrorism, illegal resource exploitation, pollution and fisheries violations, narcotics trafficking, and illegal immigration. They have also enforced Canadian sovereignty, provided humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, supported Search and Rescue operations, and defended Canada’s broader national interests abroad.
>> This is HMCS Vancouver second visit in two years to Singapore, the first in 2016. Shortly after visiting Singapore, the ship was tasked to provide humanitarian assistance to New Zealand during an earthquake that hit the Kaikoura region in November 2016.