Singapore Boosts Defense Spending 6 Percent

January 22, 2009, Singapore -- Singapore, battling what likely is its worst-ever recession, plans to increase defense spending by 6.0 percent from a year ago, estimates released Jan. 22 showed.

The government intends to spend 11.45 billion Singapore dollars (7.66 billion US) on defense during the 2009 fiscal year, the estimates showed.

In the budget, the government took the unprecedented move of tapping into its vast financial reserves as part of measures to fight the recession, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said during a speech in parliament.

The tiny city-state, which has one of Asia's most advanced armed forces, spent 10.8 billion dollars for defense in 2008, figures contained in the 2009 budget said.

The money will be used to purchase and maintain military equipment and facilities, and to pay the salaries of national servicemen.

The mission of the armed forces is to enhance peace and security through deterrence and diplomacy, but should these fail, the military will aim to "secure a swift and decisive victory over the aggressor," a statement on the Ministry of Defence Web site said.

Singapore has a population of more than 4.8 million people, 3.64 million of them citizens and permanent residents who provide the manpower for its conscription-based armed forces. (

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