French President Emmanuel Macron, on Feb 18 conferred Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen with the 'Legion of Honour', France's highest award. The Defence Minister was given the award for both civilian and military merit regardless of the citizenship. The award was presented to Ng Eng Hen at a grand ceremony in Paris by Florence Parly, the French Minister for Armed Forces.
Prior to the award presentation ceremony, the Singapore Defence Minister reviewed a French Guard of Honour, and also hold a brief meeting with Florence Parly.
The Singapore defence ministry (MINDEF) said in a statement that during the meeting the two ministers talked about the vitality of strengthening bilateral defence cooperation and discussed security developments of mutual interest.
During his two day visit to France, the Singaporean minister also visited the French aeronautics, space and defence research laboratory ONERA. During a speech delivered there, he talked about the existing collaboration between MINDEF and ONERA.
"Ng Eng Hen's visit underscores the strong and broad-based defence relationship between Singapore and France," said MINDEF in a statement. The statement also added that the armed forces of both the countries have regular high-level interactions including policy dialogues, professional exchanges, and joint military exercises.
According to the statement issued by MINDEF, the wide-ranging interactions between Singapore and France have strengthened the friendship and mutual understanding between the countries.
This is not the first time that a Singapore national is honoured with the 'Legion of Honour' in France. In 1992, Singapore's former Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant-General Winston Choo received the same award from France.
In 2017, Liew Mun Leong, the Chairman of Changi Airport Group was conferred the rank of Knight by France. In the same year, Nanyang Technological University don Lam Khin Yong also received the rank of Knight honour.