PM Lee to meet Modi on five-day work visit to India

PM Lee Hsien Loong delivering his keynote address at the Special Session of the Nikkei 22nd International Conference on the Future of Asia, in Tokyo, on Sept 29. PM Lee begins a five-day working visit to India on Oct 3.
PM Lee Hsien Loong delivering his keynote address at the Special Session of the Nikkei 22nd International Conference on the Future of Asia, in Tokyo, on Sept 29. PM Lee begins a five-day working visit to India on Oct 3.PHOTO: ST FILE

He will also witness exchange of a slew of MOUs during trip, which comes as bilateral ties have been stepped up

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong begins a five-day working visit to India today, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement yesterday.

Mr Lee will meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will host a lunch for him in New Delhi tomorrow.

The visit, at the invitation of Mr Modi, comes as bilateral ties have been stepped up over the past year.

Singapore and India upgraded their relationship to a strategic partnership during Mr Modi's visit to Singapore last November.

Since then, both countries have started a number of working groups and dialogues in areas such as defence, trade and finance.

Tomorrow, the two leaders will witness the exchange of three memorandums of understanding (MOUs).

The first MOU covers cooperation in the field of industrial property between the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore and the Indian Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. The second is on cooperation in establishing a North East Skills Centre in Assam between the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) Education Services and the government of Assam, a state in north-eastern India. The third MOU is on cooperation in skills development between ITE Education Services and the Indian National Skill Development Corporation.

PM Lee will also call on President Pranab Mukherjee, receive a call by Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, and attend a reception for Singaporeans living in India.

On Wednesday, he travels to the city of Udaipur, a tourist destination known for its majestic palaces and lakes. It is located in India's largest state, Rajasthan, which Singapore has begun working with in water management and training officials.

PM Lee will receive a call by Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who will host a lunch for him.

He will also attend the launch of the Centre of Excellence for Tourism Training, a joint venture by ITE Education Services and Rajasthan to teach hospitality-sector skills.

The centre is part of a skills development collaboration under the India-Singapore Strategic Partnership signed last November.

PM Lee will witness the signing of two agreements in Udaipur: an MOU on cooperation on tourism and urban solutions between IE Singapore and the government of Rajasthan, and an agreement on a capacity-building programme in tourism and hospitality between Singapore Cooperation Enterprise and the Rajasthan government.

India is Singapore's 10th-largest trading partner, with bilateral trade surpassing $22 billion last year.

The Republic is one of India's top investors, with foreign direct investment from Singapore to India rising by more than seven times in the past decade, to $19.4 billion in 2014.

PM Lee will be accompanied by Mrs Lee, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran , Acting Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung and Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman.

Also in the delegation are MPs Denise Phua and Vikram Nair.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will be Acting PM today and tomorrow, while Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan will be Acting PM from Wednesday to Friday.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2016, with the headline 'PM Lee to meet Modi on five-day work visit to India'. Print Edition | Subscribe