The annual Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) 2021 will continue with in-person meetings in Singapore this June, despite the worsening Covid-19 situation.
The event is scheduled to take place on June 4 and 5.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) on May 17, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) has informed the Singapore Government that it "remains committed" to organising SLD 2021.
The SLD has been held annually in Singapore since its launch in 2002.
However, it was cancelled last year due to global Covid-19 travel restrictions.
MINDEF said that it is "encouraged" by the positive response to invitations to SLD 2021, which "underscore the strong commitment of government leaders" in addressing security challenges even in the midst of the pandemic.
Will make necessary adjustments if needed
However, MINDEF also stated that the Singapore government will continue to monitor the local and global Covid-19 situation and make necessary adjustments, given that the situation is fluid and continues to evolve in the run-up to the event.
"In doing so, the health and safety of everyone will be the foremost consideration," added MINDEF.
SLD 2021 will bring together leaders from across the Asia-Pacific, the U.S., Europe and beyond in Singapore to engage in defence diplomacy.
Lloyd Austin, the U.S. Secretary of Defense will be making his first trip as Secretary to Southeast Asia to attend the forum.
Decision came after cancellation of World Economic Forum
The decision to go ahead with SLD 2021 came after it was announced that the World Economic Forum (WEF)'s annual meeting in Singapore will be cancelled.
The WEF was set to take place in August 2021.
The IISS said, according to CNA, that WEF's decision does not affect its own plans.
It added, as reported by CNA:
"We have a full line-up of ministers and other senior leaders from around the world planning to attend our event.
We will continue to work with our partners in Singapore's government to strengthen the already stringent safety measures we have in place, and make any necessary adjustments to protect both our attendees and the local community."
Top image of Shangri-La Dialogue 2017 taken from IISS/FB.