India pulls out of Defence Dialogue threatening to sour “friendly ties between India and Singapore”


Just when the bilateral ties between China and Singapore have become a bit better, another incident has threatened to sour the “friendly ties between India and Singapore”.

This was reported by The Hindu on Sat (10 Jun),’Think tank snub clouds India-Singapore ties’. The Hindu is the second most circulated daily English-language mainstream newspaper in India, with average circulation of some 1.5 million.

It reported that the Indian delegation was pulled out of the recent Shangri-La Dialogue which was held early this month in Singapore over the ranking of Indian Minister. A perceived snub from the organizer of the event led to India’s decision to withdraw its entire delegation led by Indian Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre, reported The Hindu. It has confirmed this with Indian officials.

According to the Indian senior officials privy to the decision, the organizer informed the Indian government that the Indian Minister Subhash Bhamre did not rank as highly as Pakistan’s Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, as “civil military relations in Pakistan are different from those in India”. As a result, Mr Bhamre who was filling in for Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, would only be accommodated at a “plenary session” on the last day of the event, and not on one of the main panels as the Pakistani General Hayat was.

The Shangri-La Dialogue is organized by the non-partisan UK-based International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) think tank. The Hindu reported that the event was funded and hosted by the Singapore government. The annual event enables defence ministers, officials and military chiefs of 28 Asia-Pacific countries, including China and the United States, to meet together for bilateral talks. IISS helps run the conference for the Singapore Government.

India’s decision to pull out meant missing out on possible meetings with U.S. Defence Secretary James Mattis, which would have been significant ahead of Indian PM Modi’s visit to the U.S. at the end of June, as well as meeting the defence ministers of Australia, Japan, Malaysia and Canada, amongst others who attended this year.

Mishandling of event lends a sour note to “friendly ties between India and Singapore”

An Indian official told The Hindu, “Obviously, we were not going to accept this kind of differentiation between India and Pakistan.”

Accordingly, the Indian High Commission in Singapore then informed the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs that “under the circumstances”, India was pulling out of the event as the speaking slot confirmed was “not in line with their expectations”.

In a reply to The Hindu, the organizer IISS “regretted” the Indian decision, and said the Indian side had informed them late that Mr Bhamre had wanted to speak. The organizer said they had expected Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley to attend the event.

“Unfortunately, the new Defence Minister — Arun Jaitley, who already held the finance portfolio — was unable to accept our invitation. We understand that this was because of his deep involvement in preparations for the imposition of GST,” IISS said in its reply.

However, both India and Singapore sought to play down the differences over the event, with officials on both sides blaming IISS organizer for the “misunderstanding”.

“But the event has lent a sour note to traditionally friendly ties between India and Singapore, which had only a week before the Shangri-La Dialogue completed their week-long annual Maritime Bilateral Exercise,” The Hindu said.

Indian official: Damage done

Singapore MFA also said it is “taking responsibility” over the mishandling of the event although it is unclear what it meant by “taking responsibility”.

“The Singapore government took responsibility for what they called an ‘oversight’ in the programme, but the damage is done,” said the senior Indian official whom The Hindu spoke to.

The official added that a decision to re-engage with subsequent Shangri-La Dialogues would have to be taken at a very senior level in government. “It’s over for now,” the official said. In other words, it is unclear if India will be participating in future Dialogues held in Singapore.



  1. Indiana talk if you are sending second ties official of course receive second not first official reception just like China sending 3stars not 5stars General???

    • I believe it’s because the mistake was made with respect to a Pakistani delegate.

      Indian and Pakistani relations are.. sensitive, shall we say

    • Russia and China already downgraded their delegations. Next year India joins, and I can see both R,I&C persuading their friends to follow. Soon, IISS Spore becomes just a West talking forum only. And the West is in economic decline, West governments heavily in debt, looks like Spore wants to join them in decline too! Mad or stupid, or both.

    • Jason Jason as long not full minister level, defence chief or 3 stars general and above. It’s considered low ranking, as these low ranking staffs are non decisions or policies maker.

  2. Taking Responsibility and Claiming Accountability are two very different forms of actions. The former is akin to ‘cop out’. It is ‘harakiri’ to annoy the two most populous countries in the world. A deep and delicate understanding of India-Pakistan relations is essential. It is much like China-Taiwan.

  3. Its okay if India pulls out. They cannot be part of the defence of our part of the world anyway. They had better look after the Indian Ocean.
    It will give LHL more white hair and possibly a relapse.

    • Ronald – you ought to be a racist . Thats why you are making such stupid remarks. We have training arrangements with Indian Army, Navy and Airforce. They are battle hardened forces. They don’t churn BG’s with toilet papers.

    • Mohan Sinnapillay Not racism at all. This is Spore’s basic attitude. It doesn’t consider Pakistan-India issues, or US-China issues at all. Like India, it is very sensitive to any perceived belittling of its core interest and position. Very dangerous for a small country to think it is a big power. Looks like it wants to join the front lines of WW3.

    • Mohan Sinnapillay Nothing racist about Ronald Lim’s comments. He is just highlighting the regional political realities. Stop using that “racist” accusation everytime your country or your ancestor’s country is unfavourably mentioned.

  4. Be realistic, if you sent a minister of state or an MP don’t expect our PM to lay a red carpet & curry your favour at our airport. Please respect us & and send someone of higher ranking for impt meetings attended by high ranking people. The least India can do now is to STOP the KPKB.

  5. Knn u Indian fucker can send some one more senior over or not !!! Pls respect the meeting !!! Dun send a small fry over to Spore for meeting !!! U see the world no Up is it ???

  6. Indian/Pakistani relations are extremely sensitive. That said, it was such a .. trump thing to do.


    But honestly, I’m not sure if we lose much.

    • Ya nothing to loose , because you guys have a world class battle hardened army lead by battle tested Generals. You local Chinese are always very racist. Even in 2017 , you can remove racism from your mind. Call yourself Fist World. real joke.

    • Mohan Sinnapillay It’s not about racism.

      It’s about track record.

      India has been on the world stage loooooong before China even opened up.

      What have they done?

      Trust me when I saw we’d definitely much prefer India over China that’s obviously trying to quietly subvert counties in the region into their control.

      Stop taking the cheap and easy way out by playing the racism card and look at the bigger picture.

      And nope. We are not first world. It’s just other countries who think of us that way. We don’t want to be lol.

    • Aaron Loy First world? Think VB just told China SCS should be decided by claimants, looks like Spore acknowledging it cant uphold the US world order to me. Really mad to think Big Powers are bothered with Spore.
      First, China and now India. Looks like the problem is arrogance here, thinking Spore is a big power. VB trying to mitigate the damage with China and some Sporeans still thinking it is a big power, and irritate India. Decline is inevitable now!

    • Low Ngee Kiat it was mohan who alluded to us being first world, not me.

      I said we don’t believe we’re first world.

      I don’t mind criticisms but please kindly read properly first.

    • Agree, but best to be humble and keep a low profile. Globalisation and technology is changing the World Order fast. US is usd20trillion in debt, printed usd5trillion. Europe is not far behind. The West is declining fast. India, Russia and China are the new big boys.

      No need to place all the bets on the West. Next Shangrila Dialogue may become just a West party. Now India join the SCO, they may do their own rival security forum.

      Spore should lay low, quarrel less and observe the changes first. Seems to me, WW3 is unlikely because as Putin says, no one survives WW3. The fights aheads are economics, technology and trade. If Spore loses both India and China markets, and the West declines, it will decline fast too!

  7. This is a clear cut screw up by this government. This days it is new normal for them to cock up and hide. They did it to India and now back fired. India has nothing to loose. US and Russia want to train with them. You think our Army lead by Paper Generals are big deal ?

  8. Look at all the comments , it clearly shows smack of racism – typical local Sinkies mentality. You organize event and invite foreign dignitaries and you don’t know what the person is representing. Your stupid simple mind can’t even understand that in India the Defense portfoli is now handled by the Finance Minister hence they send the next man. Even if the person is not a Senior but represents the Indian delegation , proper decorum and respect must be given. This applies to all guest. If you don’t know , then don’t organize. Likely they did this because it was an Indian delegation. Racism is normal here and local Chinese expect the whole world to kow tow to them because they are SINKIES. No wonder China held back 9 armoured vehicles and you guys were hiding your tail between your legs. You better know where you stand before you shoot from your narrow mind. India have million man army, 2 aircraft carriers and has launched satellites and missions so successfully. but you local Chinese still lives with very narrow racist mind set and tend to look down. They fight every day with some of the worst terrorist pigs from Pakistan and in one of the most harshest terrain. They don’t run paper army and lecture people. So be humble.

    • Be humble is right. But the point about racism is not. Sporeans now think of themselves as Sporeans, not Chinese. There is no shortage of abuse hurled at Chinese from LHL missed OBOR meeting.
      Main point is Spore is not a big power. India is not a superpower yet but Trump, Xi and Putin all needs to pay respects to India’s concern as it is a big power. If Spore wants to continue to prosper, like Norway and Swiss, it better stop behaving like an Israel of Asia. That is a recipe for conflicts, not peace and prosperity.

    • Old senile Mohan can’t understand the fuck is geopolitics. They can’t and won’t play a role in any potential conflict in this region. They have missed the boat even if they want to now. The Indian military is good for a regional fighting force but has no capability to project power this far. To know why, do also crawl home and read on the rotting state of India’s military – go check out the LCA, ALH, Arjun and the aircraft carrier programs for a start. While you are at it, stay away from India’s documentary on their own military.

    • The speaking order at the Shangri-La Dialogue has always been based on the ranking of the delegation dispatched. Don’t expect to be accorded any privilege if you choose to send a lower level team to the conference.

    • Don’t compare India to China ! the British invaded India, India open their arm and welcome them . China fight with the Japanese for 8 years and few millions of the Chinese will killed . They fight to the end ! With or without india . This world never lost a peanut . Singapore is a tiny country with alots of investments there. The Indian from India come here to work and you see any singaporen work in India ? Roll back to your country ! Your government cannot find job For their national . Chase all out and Singapore air smell fresher !

    • Sounds like inferiority complex to me. Every quarrel, and Sporeans yell bully or we are not a vassal state. Seems Sporeans needs to grow up and look at issues instead.
      Neither India or China looks at Spore as a vassal state. But it’s policies will determine a response. If Spore doesn’t care about their interests, they are free to take action against Spore too. That is how international relations work.

      Spore as a small city state should be humble, lay low and be friends with all. Taking sides in today’s fast changing world order is VERY DANGEROUS!

  9. This is the new normal. This is what happen when u have a bunch of sub standard loading over u. When they cannot perform n deliver, they resort to tricks like lowering standards to gloss up their weak performances. So naturally, the competence of the whole government machinery drop. So u get mistakes galore almost everyday. The solution is clear. Pick a new leader.

  10. Take the indians trash Out of Singapore. We only need indian frm india have taken singapore as their home permanently other than them throw all the pinoy indian china ang mo trash out

    • Look at it positively. I hope all the Indian citizens working here march out in protest and take the first plane back to India. This will free up jobs for deserving Singaporeans who are more highly qualified than the paper mills degrees with universities much much lower in ranks than our universities. Good grief !

  11. LKY around, nothing of this will happen and continue happening
    I am sure many potential and capable people to lead us cause our country have many talented people
    Time to make a change in leadership and replace the generals.
    Our country not under kingdom We are Republic of Singapore.

  12. What’s the issue actually? IISS was the one who messed with the Indians. What has that got to do with Singapore? Just because the event takes place in Singapore doesn’t mean it’s Singapore’s fault

  13. I don’t care….who the whites offended….coz they think too highly of themselves…..filling up only their own paper general to run this small tiny state island….n reward themselves handsomely…..n yet fools still continue to believe in them…..sad….

  14. Well done DumDum, a very well deserve million dollars celery with very competent pee brain professional running the ship to the ground. First u lick their arses bringing the foreign trash to steal our jobs, after nicely screwed off your own majullah singapura citizen. Then screw the rest with your idiocracy greediness. You literally screwing(Bitch) US,CHINA,INDIA & many more cuntries that knows your smelly arse. It’s time for game change in our governing bodies in majullah singapura or it going to be dead by penpokerapplepenpucker at hid helm. At least be a Slut, a slut chose who they want to screw.

  15. With or without them , This world will not loss a peanut . Get the fuck out of Singapore ! Indian come to SG to work and you mama see any Singaporean work there? Even Donald Trump aware of this problems . What IT specialists? Countries take Indian because they’re cheap ! But they polluted their countries . The smell can killed everyone in this planet except them .

  16. It’s ok no love lost now hopefully india will pull out a lot of indians from Singapore back to India as well, singaporeans would be most grateful we promise if they go back we won’t perceive that as a snub

  17. Its going to be a big loss for bilateral Singapore-India defense ties, loss of training grounds for Singapore’s army, navy, air force and commando forces. MFA big screw up – how can a Minister of State for Defense has a lower standing than Pakistani Chief of Defense Forces! Too many scholars with maths degrees in MFA without emotional intelligence.

    • Azaadjeet Singh They treat Chinese officials exactly the same way too. LHL openly say China is not the Middle Kingdom too in APEC, Peru when Xi was there. I think losing Chinese business is much more important to Spore than India’s defence contracts. Spore thinks of itself as a big power and disregard Pakistan/India or US/China issues. Stupid but fair. No reason to give face to India but not China!

  18. First China, now India…must be more tactful in handling foreign affairs lah…buckle up please…and not create any misunderstanding with our neighbors and/or rest of the world pleassssse…

  19. This is the case of a small country trying to play role of big country…Head you win, tail I lose…..Singapore is getting big headed by their economic success and didnt realise that their survival very much dependent on the whim and fancy of the big countries.

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