S'pore, Britain to boost cooperation on cyber security

S'pore, Britain to boost cooperation on cyber security
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Singapore and Britain yesterday agreed to step up co-operation on cyber security, in an acknowledgement of the growing threat of cyber attacks, while pledging to bolster collaboration on fighting terrorism and maritime piracy.

As part of efforts to beef up cyber security, the two countries yesterday said they would work together to co-operate in areas ranging from emergency response and cyber research to talent development.

Both sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cyber Security Cooperation that will see them doubling their joint spending in cyber research and development from $2.5 million to $5.1 million over three years.

The MOU was signed by Cyber Security Agency chief executive David Koh and Britain's National Security Adviser, Sir Nigel Kim Darroch. It built on agreements made during President Tony Tan Keng Yam's state visit to Britain last year.

The signing took place on the second and final day of British Prime Minister David Cameron's visit to Singapore at the Istana. He and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong witnessed the signing.

"The UK has well-known expertise in this field and we hope to share our experiences in this increasingly important area," Mr Lee told a joint press conference.

The two prime ministers earlier held talks, where Mr Cameron said both countries agreed to explore ways to work together in the global fight against terrorism and share experiences on countering extremist ideologies spread by groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as ISIL.

Mr Cameron said he would discuss with Mr Lee how Britain and Singapore can work together to "protect ourselves from the threat of ISIL and to counter the extremist ideology that is doing so much harm to our young people".

Mr Lee noted that both countries could share their experiences particularly in dealing with individuals who have been radicalised.

"We have some experience in Singapore in that area in the form of the Religious Rehabilitation Group. I think Britain has already been working on these areas and I'm sure that we'll be exchanging notes on those," he added.

On maritime security, Mr Cameron said his country would provide assistance to the Singapore navy as it works with partners in the region to tackle piracy.

The two leaders discussed other issues, including regional and international developments and Britain's engagement of Asia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Mr Cameron also called on President Tan, and they agreed both countries should continue to co-operate on initiatives discussed during Dr Tan's visit last year.

Mr Cameron's visit comes at a time of key milestones for Singapore as it celebrates its 50th year of independence and the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Britain. As part of National Day celebrations next month, Singapore will be receiving Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, as the Queen's representative.

Earlier yesterday, Mr Cameron visited Commonwealth Secondary School to learn about Singapore's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or "Stem", Applied Learning Programme.

He later graced the opening of a business seminar promoting trade and investment links before leaving for Vietnam, the third stop of his South-east Asia tour, which concludes in Kuala Lumpur today.

This article was first published on July 30, 2015.
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