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For centuries, maritime trade has been a key component of Singapore’s economy and vital to its survival and prosperity. Given Singapore’s strategic location, seaborne trade is the lifeblood of our economy and we rely on the sea to import valuable cargo and energy, and to export goods we manufacture. Our port is one of the busiest in the world and our offshore islands along the Singapore Strait host some of the world’s largest oil refineries. Threats to Singapore’s waters – the borders of a small island state measuring no more than 50km by 27km with no geographic depth – are also threats to the nation and Singaporeans’ livelihoods. The sea is Singapore’s lifeline, our link to the world and our first line of defence.

The 4 key roles of our Navy

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Ensuring maritime security

The Singapore Strait is one of the busiest waterways in the world – every day, close to a thousand ships ply it. Given its proximity to the country’s city centre and critical industries, it is crucial that the RSN ensures that maritime security is never compromised. The Navy maintains a 24/7 presence in Singapore waters, supported by surveillance and sense-making hubs ashore, and works closely with national and regional maritime agencies and navies to ensure that our seas are safe and secure for all.

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Enhancing diplomacy

The RSN contributes to the expansion of Singapore’s policy space by making friends and sustaining strong relationships with fellow navies in the region and beyond. Building relationships with friends and partners improves trust and interoperability and makes it easier to tackle maritime concerns and security challenges together.

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Protecting our Sea Lines of Communication

Singapore sits astride the major sea lines of communication in the world. Cut off its access to them and Singapore will immediately be isolated. The RSN plays an important role in maintaining access to these sea lines of communication and deterring and dealing with threats to their closure.

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Securing our peace

In peace, the RSN has to hone and finesse its warfighting capabilities. It has to be ready at all times to answer the call of duty, and work with friends and partners to protect the seas, which are global commons. Should deterrence and diplomacy fail, the RSN will secure a swift and decisive victory for Singapore against any aggressor at sea.

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