What to expect from the India-Singapore ‘strategic partnership’

(From DW)

Indian PM Narendra Modi will embark next week on a visit to Singapore, during which bilateral ties will be elevated to a strategic partnership. But how important is Singapore to India? DW talks to economist Rajiv Biswas.

Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi

During Modi’s three-day visit to the country, which is scheduled to start on November 23, the Indian PM is expected to meet his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong and sign a strategic partnership agreement that would result in more high-level exchanges and elevate ties between the two nations.

According to the Singapore government, the strategic partnership would enhance cooperation in areas such as the promotion of investments, urban solutions, smart cities, water and waste management, and skill development. India was one of the first countries to recognize Singapore’s sovereignty, doing so on Aug 24, 1965. This year marks the golden anniversary of bilateral relations.

Economic ties between the two nations have intensified since the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement in 2005. Singapore is now India’s largest foreign direct investor, and its 10th largest trading partner, and both militaries train together regularly.

In a DW interview, Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific Chief Economist at the analytics firm IHS, talks about the significance of Modi’s visit, Singapore’s growing significance for India, and how the two countries are likely to benefit from the strategic partnership.

DW: What will be the top issues on the agenda during PM Modi’s Singapore visit?

Rajiv Biswas: Besides the new strategic partnership agreement, which is expected to be signed by PM Modi and Singapore PM Lee, a high priority will be given to strengthening bilateral co-operation on defense and combating terrorism. These strategic initiatives have been given an even greater sense of urgency by the terrorist atrocities in Paris on November 13.

India and Singapore decided in October to revive a Joint Working Group on Intelligence Cooperation on Combating Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime, so greater defense and intelligence co-operation will be high on the agenda during the visit.

How significant is this visit, and how does it fit in with Modi’s plan to revitalize the Indian economy and his ‘Make in India’ campaign?

Despite its small geographical size, Singapore is an important trade and investment partner for India, playing a key role as one of Asia’s leading international financial centers and an important hub for trade finance and capital raising for India.

Singapore’s financial centre could, therefore, play an important role in raising finance for the development of India’s manufacturing sector and financing essential infrastructure. Read more

Categories: Asia Unhedged, India, Southeast Asia

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