India to complete strategic partnership with Singapore

PM's visitIndia to complete strategic partnership with SporeNEW DELHI: India expects to conclude a ‘strategic partnership’ with Singapore during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the South-East Asian nation where he would also meet top CEOs and address the Indian community.

Modi will be in Singapore on November 23-24 on a bilateral visit, during which he is also expected to sign an enhanced defense cooperation pact, along with other MoUs on cyber security, culture and training on urban management and the like.

Briefing the media about the visit, Secretary (East) with the Ministry of External Affairs Anil Wadhwa said Singapore has approximately 3,50,000-strong Indian Diaspora out of its total population of 5.5 million.

The bilateral trade with Singapore is about USD 17 billion and Singaporean companies are very active in India since early 1990s, including in equity markets.

“Singapore has emerged as the second-largest source of FDI into India at about USD 35.9 billion (total for April 2000 to June 2015), which is about 13.9 per cent of total FDI into India,” Wadhwa said, while adding that Indian investments into Singapore are also fairly large at USD 37 billion.

“Singapore has a strategic location with status as a financial, aviation and maritime hub. The flow of investments, presence of a large Indian Diaspora and its expertise in urban development and skill development make it a very valued partner for India.

“During the visit, we would conclude a strategic partnership with Singapore, along with further strengthening of our defense relationships,” Wadhwa said.

He further said the focus of the visit will also include ‘five S plank’ of scaling up trade and investment, speeding up connectivity, smart cities, skills development and state focus.

“Also, an enhanced defense cooperation agreement is likely to be signed during this visit, along with some other MoUs on cyber security, culture, training on urban management etc,” he added.

Asked about the CEOs he will be meeting in Singapore, Wadhwa said the list is still a work in progress.

To a question about whether an orchid would be named after Modi during his visit, Wadhwa said, “The orchid naming ceremony is not on the schedule any longer. It was being talked about earlier, but due to paucity of time, we had to forgo that. That will not happen (now).” .
“For urban development sector, we are trying to collaborate with Singapore by way of training. Singapore has agreed to set up a centre in ITI in Udaipur and would set up another skill centre in the North-East,” Wadhwa said.

“Wadhwa further said Singapore supports India in the United Nations Security Council for our permanent membership and the UNSC reforms and they have also always supported India’s entry into ASEAN.”

Talking about Modi’s program in Singapore, Wadhwa said the Prime Minister will deliver the prestigious Singapore Lecture soon after his arrival on the evening of November 23 from Malaysia. Modi will be participating in ASEAN and East Asia Summit meetings in Kuala Lumpur.

Singapore’s Prime Minister is also expected to be present at the Lecture where the audience would be largely policymakers, think-tanks, academics and diplomatic community.

On the morning of November 24, Modi will have a breakfast meeting with Singapore businessmen while he will meet Prime Minister of Singapore, Singapore President later in the day, and MoUs will be signed.

Modi will also lay a wreath at INA (Indian National Army) Monument in Singapore and also visit the Institute of Technical Education College, which is involved in skills development.

On his second day, Modi will also address the India-Singapore Economic Convention while there will be a brief meeting with select Singapore CEOs. Later in the evening, he will address the Indian community before leaving for India.

He also said the Indian community events were planned in Singapore and Malaysia as well.

“Normally, the Prime Minister likes to address a gathering of Indian expats and I am sure that same pattern will follow in both these countries,” he said.

The Indian community event at Singapore will take place at the Singapore Expo Centre.–PTI

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