Bilateral Cooperation Can Broaden Our Areas Of Knowledge: Rear Admiral, Swedish Ministry of Defence

Interview with Peter Bager, Rear Admiral, Swedish Ministry of Defence

The Armed Forces of Sweden and Singapore have very good relations. Is there any specific reason?
Yes there are several reasons for our good relations. First of all Singapore and Sweden have a long tradition of cooperation within the area of defence as well as technologies. This is among other things related to the common material we have in our countries. Singapore has bought a Swedish construction of MCM-vessels and also acquired submarines from Sweden. 
As the head of the Swedish delegation for bilateral cooperation with Singapore, what do you see as the main reason for our good relation? 
Both our countries are relative small. With that comes a common view upon how to develop the Armed Forces, not least our Navies. As I said earlier, we have common material and equipment where we can also share experiences and lessons learned. The submarine project also included education and training in Sweden which meant that a number of Singaporean families have spent a long time in the southern part of Sweden. The Singaporeans were popular citizens in the city of Karlskrona during these years. Projects like this are essential both for creating and for maintaining good and long lasting relations between our countries.

Both Sweden and Singapore have companies with very advanced technological capabilities. Do you foresee more cooperation in the future for defense related projects?Both countries are always looking for cooperation where it can be in favor of our respective countries and our Armed Forces. From a Swedish point of view, with regard to the specific cooperation with Singapore, I foresee a prolonged cooperation not just within the naval area but also in other areas such as automation, where Singapore, in my opinion, has taken big steps. This area is specifically interesting in order to optimize our use of manpower within the Armed Forces and other areas.

Is there anything you think Sweden can learn from our colleagues in Singapore?
There are always areas where we in Sweden can learn from other countries. Our bilateral cooperation with Singapore is one good example of how we can broaden our knowledge within certain areas.
As an example, the Singapore Armed Forces are used to totally different environmental conditions than what we are used to in Sweden. These experiences are very valuable for us when planning and taking part in international operations and also when we set requirements for future systems. 
Singapore is also technically highly developed in areas such as automation.
Are there different types of threats here in South East Asia compared to what we see in Sweden?
Our countries are geographically far apart and this also mirrors different threats to our respective countries.  But I would like to stress that there are also threats that are common and global. For example, cyber threats and threats to the sea lines of communication. Both Singapore and Sweden are dependent on imports which means that sea lines of communication are essential for us and therefore both our countries successfully contribute to anti-piracy operations.