India needs skilled hands in large numbers if Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dreams of Make In India are to come true, and Singapore has those skills.
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday took Mr Modi on a tour of Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College Central that showcased Singapore's technical training and skills development.
The 10.6ha campus, opened in 2013, is located in Ang Mo Kio Drive in Mr Lee's Teck Ghee constituency.
The two leaders toured the maritime, aerospace and precision engineering hubs at the campus while officials briefed them on the facilities and training available.
To commemorate the visit, the two leaders donned gloves and worked on metal sheets at the precision engineering hub to create bookends which they signed and gifted each other. One set of the bookends has the Merlion head laser-cut into the sheet metal and the other bears the image of the famous India Gate in New Delhi.
Before leaving the workshop, Mr Lee shook hands with the two students who helped Mr Modi and him fashion the bookends, quipping: "I hope we passed."
At the end of the hour-long visit, they took a group picture with students and lecturers. ITE director and chief executive officer Bruce Poh told reporters later that India had made the request to see its engineering facilities.
The Indian government has identified the scaling up of skills training as a priority to pushing economic growth, with Mr Modi having set up a Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Ministry.
"At the end of the visit, (Mr Modi) asked our PM to help create something like this in his country that they can be proud of," Mr Poh said.
He added that a top ITE official is currently in India to discuss consultancy services that the institute could provide to India.
ITE is providing technical training consultancy to 26 countries, including those in South-east Asia and Africa, Mr Poh said.
In August, Singapore signed a memorandum of understanding with the Rajasthan state government to set up a skills centre to train 480 students in the tourism and hospitality sector annually.