India, Singapore agree to deepen economic, defence ties

Modi hailed the close defence cooperation between the two countries and welcomed the completion of the logistics agreement between the two navies

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Singapore: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong today agreed to deepen the bilateral economic ties and build on defence cooperation as the two sides signed eight agreements including one on logistics cooperation between their navies.

The two leaders, who held wide-ranging discussions on regional and global issues of mutual interests, also called for a peaceful, open, and friendly maritime environment in the Indo-Pacific region.

Prime Minister Modi said that the strategic partnership between India and Singapore has stood the test of time in the real sense.

Since CECA was signed in 2004, India-Singapore bilateral trade more than doubled from SGD12 billion to SGD 25 billion. Singapore was the second largest investor in India in FY-2016.

Modi hailed the close defence cooperation between the two countries and welcomed the completion of the logistics agreement between the two navies.

Lee said India is a significant market for Singapore FinTech companies, while Singapore – as a global FinTech Hub – can be a gateway for India to enter the Southeast Asian market. The two countries have agreed to establish a Joint Working Group on FinTech to support this new effort, he added.

Meanwhile, in his meeting with CEOs yesterday, Modi said he was happy to see that top executive of many important companies looking at India with confidence.

Modi said the air traffic between India and Singapore is growing rapidly and both countries will enter into a new ‘Air Service Agreement’ soon.

He said the international launch of RuPay, BHIM and UPI based remittance app in Singapore yesterday represented Digital India initiative and the renewed partnership between the two sides.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said technology is giving voice to millions around the world and helping in breaking social barriers as he underlined the need of combining innovation with human values to resolve the challenges of the 21st century.

Participating in a dialogue titled ‘Transforming Asia through Innovation’ at Singapore’s prestigious Nanyang Technological University, Modi spoke about the biggest challenges before the world, in particular, Asia.

“The biggest challenge before us is that the 21st century belongs to Asia. But do we have this sentiment, I think that is the biggest challenge,” he said.

He said skills for the digital age, creating adequate jobs in the age of digital reception, agricultural productivity, water, pollution, rapid and mass urbanisation, climate change, building sustainable infrastructure and protecting the blue economy were some of the common challenges facing humankind.

Modi cited a report by an American university on the economic development of 2,000 years according to which he said India and China contributed to 50% of the world GDP for 1,600 years.

“It is only the last 300 years where we find the dominance of the western world,” he said.

“If we can overcome our internal problems, this interconnected world that we have if we can transform that into opportunities in the service of humanities for peace and for harmony then we together can make a huge contribution.