Strong India, Singapore ties will do more for region: Indian envoy Jawed Ashraf

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Published: January 24, 2020 3:37:47 PM

India had the largest overseas participation in the Singapore Fintech festival last year.

india, singaporeThe envoy was addressing around 1,500 government, community and business leaders from both the countries at the 71 Republic Day Reception on Wednesday. (IE)

The strong bilateral ties between India and Singapore will do more for the region and the world in the new decade, Indian envoy Jawed Ashraf has said, highlighting the importance of the two countries globally.

High Commissioner Ashraf said the last decade saw the transformation of Singapore-India partnership and this decade “we will both rise to our shared aspirations which are very high and to the expectations that others have from us.”

“At a time of a multiple transitions and disruptions, the imperatives for a stronger strategic partnership between India and Singapore has never been stronger…when we do more with each other (Singapore-India), we will do more for the region and the world. That is the defining objective of the strategic partnership between India and Singapore,” he said.

The envoy was addressing around 1,500 government, community and business leaders from both the countries at the 71 Republic Day Reception on Wednesday, held earlier due to the Lunar New Year holidays this week.

Singapore deputed a senior minister to the Indian National Day Reception. Singapore’s Minister of Education, Ong Ye Kung, who has been to India twice since June 2019, was Guest of Honour at the reception representing his government.

In his Republic Day Reception speech, the High Commissioner emphasised that India’s international engagement continues to deepen, and “nowhere was it more visible than in the Indo-Pacific Region and in the Act East Policy”.

He added, “ASEAN will remain at the centre of our vision. Singapore remains, as always, integral to each of our endeavours”.

He listed more than 10 ministerial visits from Singapore to India in the last six months and several from India to Singapore as evidence of growing bilateral engagement.

The High Commissioner noted that bilateral defence cooperation has “deepened and entered new areas of engagement, and we broadened the framework of defence partnership to a regional level in Southeast Asia and in the broader Indo Pacific Region, including through the first trilateral, which as an exercise involving India, Singapore and Thailand.”

He highlighted the economic achievements in recent years, where rapid growth was accompanied by “unprecedented expansion in empowerment, inclusion and access to basic needs” for all citizens.

He expressed confidence that the economic fundamentals were strong, and growth momentum will be restored to its long term trend line of over 7 per cent, which would be “increasingly powered by clean energy”, even above our international commitments on climate change.

“The trajectory of economic partnership, trade and investments, continues to move upwards,” the envoy highlighted.

Singapore has emerged as the largest investor in India and Indian companies, estimated at around 9,000, continue to use Singapore as a base for their global and regional engagements.

India is the third largest source of tourism to Singapore, estimated at about one million a year, and it is growing at a double-digit rate supported by the growing air connectivity between the two countries.

Ashraf also highlighted the work in progress relating to innovations and technologies between the two countries.

“It is the spark of innovation and technology that is igniting the rapidly growing partnership for the digital age,” said the High Commissioner.

“Our start-up eco systems are more deeply connected now. Our youth are working together closely,” he said.

India had the largest overseas participation in the Singapore Fintech festival last year. The payment systems of the two countries are becoming inter-operable.

“Together, we are working to craft solutions, based on India Stack, to offer the possibility of digital governance, inclusion, digitalisation of payments to counties in the region and beyond,” said Ashraf.

“Singapore creates an environment that nurtures diverse cultures and traditions that has turned this great city into a nursery of Indian cultures,” the envoy said as he underlined the people-to-people ties that the two countries have built over decades.

A gala concert was held on January 23, by sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, his two sons Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash jointly with Singapore’s Chinese Orchestra at the historic Victoria Concert Hall, the first collaboration of its kind.

The highlight of the concert was the orchestral piece, Samaagam, composed by Amjad Ali Khan and adapted for the Chinese instruments. Singapore’s Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong was the guest of honour at the concert.

The concert, the high commissioner said, was a “tribute to the harmonious, multicultural spirit of Singapore.” “The inclusive and cosmopolitan world view of India captured in Vasudeva Kutumbakam and the myriad threads that bind our two countries,” he said.

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