Citing the Lithuanian Defence Ministry’s recent distribution of a manual on readiness for emergency situations, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said Singapore can draw many lessons from the Baltic state, reported Channel News Asia
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said Singapore can draw many lessons from Lithuania, after the Baltic state’s recent distribution of a manual on readiness for emergency situations and war to its citizens, as well as the country mulling over reinstating military conscription.
In a Facebook post on Sunday (Mar 1), Dr Ng said Lithuania stopped military conscription for male citizens in 2008, “much to its regret now”. It is looking into reinstating it.
He added: “We must keep up our strong defence if we are to avoid being in its precarious and hapless situation.”
Lessons from Lithuania
Government agencies distribute manuals very often on a host of issues that affect their populations – health, education, tax, benefits and so on. But recently, the Defence Ministry of Lithuania distributed a manual that is not so common – a 98-page manual titled “Things to know about readiness for emergency situations and warfare”, to help their 3 million citizens prepare for the possibility of invasion, occupation and armed conflict.
Why? No one doubts the reason. Lithuania was under Soviet control from 1940 to 1991; it joined NATO in 2004. The Lithuanian Defence Minister recently said: “When Russia started its aggression in Ukraine, our citizens here in Lithuania understood that our neighbour is not friendly”, and that what happened in Georgia and Ukraine “showed us that we cannot rule out a similar kind of situation here”.
The manual also includes instructions on how to respond in a “hybrid war” situation, an obvious reference to alleged Russian insurgents (also referred to as “little green men”) assisting rebels in Ukraine. “Lithuanian citizens who notice unknown and unidentified armed groups operating in their neighbourhood or elsewhere should notify the authorities,” the manual advised.
Lastly, Lithuania is now looking into reinstating military conscription for their male citizens – something which they had stopped in 2008, much to their regret now.
“There are many lessons that Singaporeans can draw from Lithuania. We must keep up our strong defence if we are to avoid being in their precarious and hapless situation.” said Ng Eng Hen, defence Minister of Singapore