Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Lithuania has lessons for Singapore: Ng Eng Hen

By Yeo Sam Jo, The Straits Times, 2 Mar 2015

SINGAPORE can learn "many lessons" from Lithuania and must maintain its strong defence capabilities, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said yesterday in a Facebook post.

Dr Ng was referring to how the Baltic country's Defence Ministry distributed a 98-page manual recently to help its three million citizens prepare for the possibility of invasion, occupation and armed conflict amid the current tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

He said: "There are many lessons that Singaporeans can draw from Lithuania. We must keep up our strong defence if we are to avoid being in their precarious and hapless situation."

Lithuania's manual, titled "Things to know about readiness for emergency situations and warfare", gives advice on things such as setting up basement shelters and handling hostage dramas.

It also includes instructions on how to respond in a "hybrid war" situation, which Dr Ng said is an obvious reference to alleged Russian insurgents assisting rebels in Ukraine.

Quoting Lithuania's Defence Minister Juozas Olekas, Dr Ng wrote: "When Russia started its aggression in Ukraine, our citizens here in Lithuania understood that our neighbour is not friendly."

Dr Ng added that Lithuania is looking at reinstating military conscription. It was stopped in 2008, which Dr Ng said was "much to their regret now".

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