|Airbus A350 flying at Singapore Airshow
Singapore: A public spat between Singapore and Indonesia has cast a shadow on the Asia’s top aerospace and defence show, the Singapore Airshow, that started on Tuesday, February 11. Around 50 countries, their military delegations and 1000 companies from across the globe are participating.
Singapore and Indonesia, both partners in the ten-country Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), have been locked in war of words Jakarta’s move to name a navy ship after the Indonesian marines who bombed Orchard Road Building, MacDonald House (Singapore) in 1965, killing three and injuring over 30 people. Indonesian Navy has named a new frigate as KRI Usman Harun. It is Nakhoda Ragam class light frigate
, fitted with the latest British-made weapons and slated to be delivered to the Indonesian Navy this year.
Singapore considers the 1965 incident as an act of terrorism by two Indonesians. The bomb was allegedly planted by the duo during the period of Indonesia-Malaysia conflict.
The Indonesian marines, Usman Hj Mohd Ali and Harun Said, were convicted and executed in Singapore for the bombing of MacDonald House on March 10, 1965. Sinagpore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs K Shanmugam spoke to Indonesian Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Marty Natalegawa to register Singapore’s concerns over the naming of the navy ship and the impact this would have on the feelings of Singaporeans, especially the families of the victims.
Colonel Kenneth Liow of the Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) replied to media queries on the matter on February 9 issued the following reply around 2200 hours Singagopre time ( 8 hours + GMT): "MINDEF has been informed that Commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces Gen Moeldoko, Indonesia Deputy Defence Minister LG (Ret) Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin, Chief of Staff, Indonesian Army Gen Budiman and Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Air Force ACM Ida Bagus Putu Dunia have decided not to attend the Singapore Airshow. On the Indonesian Air Force's Jupiter Aerobatic Team, the Indonesian Air Force has not informed us of any changes to their participation."
Indonesia has downplayed the “terrorist angle” and the “link” related to the event that happened long time ago.What has surprised many is the ferocity with which Singapore has acted given the traditional good relations that exist between the two countries, especially on the defence front. Singapore cancelled the invites of Indonesian Navy Chief and over 100 Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) Officers to send the message that it won’t tolerate any gesture that glorifies the terror or the terrorists even if their actions are related to the distant past. Some of the high ranking ministerial meetings between the two countries scheduled during the airshow now is unlikely to take place. There is now question mark over the participation of TNI’s Jupiter Aerobatic Team with possibility of Indonesian Air Force Chief too unlikely to make it to the show given the hostile public opinion in Singapore.
Global arms and defence companies present
Despite the turbulence global arms and defence firms have confirmed their participation in large numbers.
The Airbus 350 which is yet to start commercial operation will be among 100 plus aircraft expected on static display. The star attractions include, display by Singapore’s elite Black Knight pilots and Black Eagles (South Korea). The US marine pilot, Alex Rhodes, will fly the MV 22B Osprey in as solo aerial display of about six minutes.
The much awaited six-day Airshow is poised for early start at 10.25 a.m ( local time) . daily, except on the first day to ensure smooth peak hours at the Changi airport. The authorities do not want commercial flights to be delayed. The airspace remains closed during the display hours.
More than the value of deals, the show is likely to be remembered for the quality of delegates who would be participating and deliberating on critical issues such as infrastructure and technology against the background of growing aerospace industry and related businesses in Asia.
Airbus Steals the Thunder at Singapore Airshow
Indonesia Downplays Terror Angle by Participating
An Airbus A350-XWB, the world’s newest and modern wide-body aircraft flew for the first time in Asia stealing the lime light at the Singapore Airshow 2014 on the first day. The six day show, the biggest ever in Singapore was declared open on February 12, 2014. The crowd-pleasing aerial displays from Singapore's RSAF Black Knights who maneuverer F 16 jets and Indonesian Jupiter Aerobatic team were other highlights.
Jupiter performed notwithstanding the diplomatic row between Singapore and Indonesia over Jakarta’s move to name a navy ship after the Indonesian marines who alleged to have bombed Orchard Road Building, MacDonald House (Singapore) in 1965, killing three and injuring over 30 people.
In what is perceived as uncalled for action, Indonesian Navy has named a new frigate as KRI Usman Harun. Singapore considers the 1965 incident as an act of terrorism by two Indonesians. The bomb was allegedly planted by the duo during the period of Indonesia-Malaysia conflict. Jakarata has already downplayed the incident.
On the eve of the show, Indonesia remained the centre of controversy with Singapore withdrawing invites to Indonesian naval and other top military officials. What surprised many was the ferocity with which Singapore acted given the traditional good relations that exist between the two countries, especially on the defence front.