Singapore, one of the main players in India’s renewed Act East policy, finally took centre-stage with the Indian Prime Minister’s visit this week when a new strategic partnership was announced.
Besides a boost to regional cooperation, as many as 10 bilateral agreements were clinched on defining the order of business between the two countries.
“India and Singapore elevate their bilateral relations to a strategic partnership to deepen and broaden engagement in existing areas of cooperation and catalyse new ones ranging from political, defence and security cooperation to economic, cultural and people-to-people contact. The strategic partnership is also a framework to contribute to greater regional stability and growth,” the joint declaration said.
Singapore formed part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Malaysia for the Asean-India Summit and the East Asia Summit and involved meetings with President Tony Tan and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Agreements on defence cooperation and five memoranda of understanding (MoUs) on cyber security, civil aviation, knowledge exchange in the field of planning, urban planning, and combating drug trafficking were among some of the deals struck.
Modi said: “The Asiatic lion may now only be found in Gujarat. Asia’s economic lion is to be found here – in Singapore.”
Addressing the Singaporean business community at the India-Singapore Economic Convention, he added: “In the past few months, the interest of foreign investors in India has gone up tremendously. However, there were a number of regulatory and taxation issues which were adversely impacting on their sentiments. We have taken very decisive steps to remove many of the long-pending concerns.”
Singapore is already among the top destinations for Indian investments and is expected to receive a further boost with this visit.