The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), organisers of the Shangri-La Dialogue, has announced the cancellation of the upcoming security summit in Singapore, which had been scheduled to take place on 4–5 June 2021.
Following the cancellation of the World Economic Forum earlier this week, IISS released a statement to confirm the summit would continue as planned. Today (20 May) however, it conceded that the high-profile meeting could not, in fact, continue.
In a statement, IISS said: “Unfortunately the global Covid-19 situation has recently deteriorated, in part because of the rise of infectious new COVID variants. In Singapore there has been a rise in local cases, recently introduced new restrictions, and the prospect of further tightening cannot be ruled out — all of which creates uncertainty. Taken together, all of these various factors mean that holding an in-person Shangri-La Dialogue this year has become unviable.
“A wide range of defence ministers, senior officials, corporate leaders and influential strategists from Asia, North America, the Middle East and Europe have confirmed their attendance. The IISS has worked hard with the Government of Singapore, and in particular acted in close consultation with Singapore’s Ministry of Defence, to ensure a successful Dialogue this year, despite the challenges of the pandemic.
“Even during Covid-19, the IISS believes in the role of face-to-face diplomacy to solve global problems. We continue to hold successful face-to-face events, including the IISS Manama Dialogue in Bahrain, which was convened in 2020, and will take place again on 19–21 November 2021."
The IISS remains committed to the Shangri-La Dialogue, which has convened every year since 2002. The Institute said it will now be in touch with partners and hopes the in-person IISS Shangri-La Dialogue can return by mid 2022.
Meanwhile, the IISS Asia office in Singapore will begin to plan the next IISS Fullerton Forum, scheduled for January 2022.
Source: M&C Asia