A singaporean young army delegation visited Cambodia as part of the Royal Cambodian Army-Singapore Armed Forces (RAC-SAF) Junior Officers Exchange Programme, aiming to enhance mutual understanding and strengthen cooperation within the Cambodia-Singapore bilateral mechanism and the ASEAN regional framework. 

The initiative’s inaugural exchange followed a meeting between General Mao Sophan, deputy commander of the RAC, and his Singaporean counterpart Major-General David Neo. The Cambodian army hosted the exchange event, as announced in an RAC social media post on December 5.

According to the post, the Singaporean delegation’s nine-day visit, from December 4-12, is intended to promote understanding and foster bilateral cooperation between the two armies, as well as military cooperation among ASEAN member countries. 

The cooperation was agreed upon at the 24th ASEAN Chiefs of Armies Multilateral Meeting (ACAMM) in Hua Hin, Thailand. 

During their Cambodia visit, the Singaporean delegation met with Sophan and toured various military sites, including the Special Forces Command, Brigade 70 (B-70), the Army Training Centre, Military Region 9, the Cambodia-Japan Friendship Skills Training Centre and the Army Institute of Cambodia. 

The delegation was also scheduled to present on military service performance and recruitment at B-70. 

Em Sovannara, an analyst and lecturer in political science at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, noted that the trip would deepen Singapore’s understanding of the Cambodian army and strengthen bonds of friendship. 

He noted that Singapore organises special field trips for its youth and officials within civil and military frameworks, a practice seemingly more feasible than in other ASEAN member states. 

“We commend the efforts of the Singaporean government in organising such field trips. Therefore, Cambodia is eager to cooperate with them. Singapore has previously organised a civil trip, and is now initiating a military one,” he added. 

He suggested that, if manageable, the government should emulate Singapore’s approach to provide its officials with opportunities to acquire skills in other countries.