World’s Spy Chiefs Hold Secret Meeting in Singapore, Promoting Understanding Amid Tensions

World's Spy Chiefs Hold Secret Meeting in Singapore, Promoting Understanding Amid Tensions

World’s Spy Chiefs Hold Secret Meeting in Singapore, Promoting Understanding Amid Tensions.

  • Senior intelligence officials from various countries gather discreetly alongside the Shangri-La Dialogue security meeting.

World's Spy Chiefs Hold Secret Meeting in Singapore, Promoting Understanding Amid Tensions

Senior officials from approximately two dozen major intelligence agencies around the world participated in a secret meeting on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue security meeting in Singapore, according to sources speaking to Reuters.

These meetings, organized by the Singapore government, have been discreetly held at a separate venue alongside the security summit for several years, but their existence has not been previously reported.

The meeting included representatives from the United States, with Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines leading the American delegation.

Despite tensions between the two superpowers, China was also present, highlighting the significance of the gathering. Additionally, Samant Goel, the head of India’s Research and Analysis Wing, attended the meeting.

While specific details about the discussions remain undisclosed, one source described the meeting as an important fixture on the international shadow agenda, facilitating a deeper understanding of intentions and boundaries among participating countries.

These gatherings serve as a platform for intelligence services to communicate during periods of diplomatic difficulty, fostering collaboration when formal diplomacy faces obstacles.

The Singapore Ministry of Defence confirmed that intelligence officials hold bilateral or multilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue, with some facilitated by the ministry itself. Participants have found these meetings beneficial for engagement and dialogue.

Meetings of this scale within the intelligence community are rare and rarely publicized. The Five Eyes network, consisting of the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, regularly conducts intelligence sharing and holds frequent meetings among their officials.

Although specific details of the discussions in Singapore are scarce, the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine and issues related to transnational crime were reportedly addressed during the talks. The atmosphere of the meeting was described as collaborative and cooperative rather than confrontational.

The main Shangri-La Dialogue featured over 600 delegates from 49 countries engaging in plenary sessions, as well as closed-door bilateral and multilateral meetings. Prominent figures, including Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu, and representatives from other countries, delivered speeches and participated in discussions.

While the U.S. Embassy in Singapore claimed no knowledge of the secret meeting, the Chinese and Indian governments have yet to respond to requests for comment. Additionally, CIA Director William Burns recently visited China for talks with Chinese counterparts as part of the Biden administration’s efforts to enhance communication with Beijing.

Source: Reuters

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