Five Power Defence Agreement (FPDA)
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The Five Power Defence Agreement (FPDA), which groups Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Britain, was set up in 1971 to reassure Singapore and Malaysia following the withdrawal of British forces East of the Suez. The initial underlying rationale for the arrangements was that the defence of Singapore and Malaysia remained indivisible and that they still faced common threats.
In the early 1970's there was a concern that the pull out of the British from the region would leave a gap that could be exploited off by an unfriendly power. What was needed was a message sent that any attack on Singapore or Malaysia could be successfully repelled with the assistance of British, Australian and New Zealand Forces. The arrangements were facilitated by the election in 1970 of the Conservative government in Britain, which decided to retain a reduced military presence in Singapore. From 1971, a residual force of commonwealth 'ANZUK' at around 7000 remained in Singapore under bilateral arrangements, but Australia pulled out its infantry battalions in 1974 and the remaining British troops left in 1976. New Zealand withdrew its last battalion in 1989.
Singapore attaches great importance to the Five-Power Defence agreement, which sees the five nations collaborating on defence issues, notably through joint exercises. Although, Singapore's defence capabilities have improved substantially since the seventies, cooperation within the FPDA is still very much treasured by Singapore and the other members.
In 1998 Minister for Defence, Tony Tan said that the FPDA provides for Singapore an assurance that our security is not only of concern to our two countries here, but also of concern to a wider community. For Britain, Australia and New Zealand, it provides an opportunity to show that they are still strongly committed to this part of the world.
Chiang, M. (1990). Fighting fit: The Singapore Armed Forces. Singapore: Times Editions.
(Call no.: RSING 355.0095957 CHI)
Huxley, T. (2000). Defending the Lion City: The armed forces of Singapore. St Leonards, N.S.W: Allen & Unwin.
(Call no.: RSING 355.3095957 HUX)
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. (1971). Five Power Defence Agreement (Australian Treaty Series 1971, no. 21). Retrieved October 16, 2003, from www.austlii.edu.au/au/other/dfat/treaties/1971/21.html
The information in this article is valid as at 2001 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic .