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Last Updated: Monday, 5 January, 2004, 11:21 GMT
Singapore steps up air security
By David Bottomley
BBC, Singapore

Singapore has outlined a plan to protect its skies and airports from terrorist attack.

The proposals include the development of a system to protect commercial airlines from surface-to-air missiles.

Singapore sees itself as a prime target for attack, primarily because of its support for the US-led fight against terror.

To counter that threat, the government has developed a comprehensive aviation security strategy.

Singapore Airlines plane
New measures will improve security in planes and on the ground

Outlining the measures, Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan said the number of air marshals operating on Singapore Airlines flights would be expanded.

Recently an agreement was signed with Australia to allow agents on flights between the two countries.

It is hoped that similar agreements will now be signed with other nations.

Singapore is also looking into developing a device to protect commercial planes from surface-to-air missile attack, as well as improving security on the ground.

But the deputy prime minister said the extra measures could be undermined unless all governments in the region recognised the potential threat.

Therefore he will be discussing the issue with his counterparts throughout South East Asia over the coming weeks.

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