30 July 1996
Mr Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence
Ladies & Gentlemen
1. On behalf of the Institute’s Board of Governors, I would like, first of all to thank Deputy Prime Minister Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam for gracing this ceremony and inaugurating the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies. Secondly, I would like to thank the Singapore Totalisator Board for their very generous donation towards the Institute’s Endowment Fund, without which the inauguration today of this Institute would not have been possible.
2. As the Deputy Prime Minister has just said, the need for this Institute is obvious in today’s fast changing strategic environment. With the end of the cold war and widespread expectations of unlimited growth, the need for such an Institute may be lost on many. But we cannot afford to forget, as has happened elsewhere many times in the past, that none of us are invulnerable to the forces of change, especially in a fast changing and unpredictable strategic environment. For us in Singapore and the region the implications are far more complex. They call for the shaping of new thinking and the discarding of misleading precepts and outdated assumptions.
3. If this Institute is to serve its purpose, it would be necessary first to develop, and in due time nurture, a core of knowledgeable scholars engaged in the continuous study of questions of strategic interest to Singapore and the region around us. They will also have to come up with definitive suggestions on how best to deal with a world, that hardly resembles, what we have all been familiar with, until recent times. For these are times when new strategies of regional security are also in the making.
4. It is the hope of the Board of Governors that the Institute will develop scholarship and expertise to seek answers, and develop persuasive tools, to address complex problems of diplomacy and security. For these will be so necessary for the continued preservation and promotion of our sovereignty and national integrity.
5. The task entrusted to the Institute is a professional challenge to all who will work in it. We will have to address fundamental and difficult questions, like what global and regional challenges that emerge from time to time could mean for Singapore, and the Southeast Asian region. It goes without saying that the Institute’s contribution will also help understand how best to limit the risks of conflict, in an unpredictable world. I am confident that those who will work in this Institute will respond to this professional challenge with equal vigour and determination.
6. Lastly, I would like to thank the Nanyang Technological University Council and the Governing Board of the Institute for giving me the privilege to serve as the Institute’s first Director.
Last updated on 02/09/2021