Modi government's reforms 'offer opportunities for Singapore firms'

India has asked Singapore to share experiences in urbanisation: Iswaran

This article was first published on Nov 29, 2014

The new Indian government's economic reforms should create opportunities for Singapore companies, particularly in the area of urbanisation, said Mr S. Iswaran yesterday.

The Second Minister for Trade and Industry told the Singapore-India Business Symposium: "One area where Singapore can contribute is in India's mission to develop smart, sustainable cities.

"We have been requested by the Indian government to share our experiences in urbanisation and city development."

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has plans to develop 100 smart cities by 2020 and there may be opportunities for Singapore firms providing urban solutions such as energy and water, noted a joint statement by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), IE Singapore and the Singapore Business Federation.

Mr Iswaran, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, noted that Singapore's government agencies and the private sector can share their expertise in urban solutions and smart cities.

"We are actively considering how best to work with the central government on its Smart Cities initiative, and also with states like Andhra Pradesh on its Capital City project," he added.

CII president Ajay Shriram said: "With Singapore's leadership in the global financial sector, expertise in infrastructure and urban development, strong presence of Indian diaspora and over 6,000 Indian companies in the country, Singapore is a natural partner for India."

IE Singapore's assistant chief executive officer Tan Soon Kim noted that India's operating environment has often been challenging for businesses. "The reforms and initiatives announced recently directly address this issue and signal a positive shift. If seen through, this creates tangible opportunities for businesses."

Some local firms are already expanding in India. These include Singapore Airlines, which has teamed up with Tata Sons to set up Vistara Airlines, set to be India's third full-service carrier.

Singapore is India's largest trade and investment partner in Asean, making up about 28 per cent of Asean-India trade.

rachaelb@sph.com.sg