A book detailing India's journey in the decade before the rise of its Prime Minister Narendra Modi was launched by Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong yesterday.
Written by veteran Straits Times journalist Ravi Velloor, the book titled India Rising: Fresh Hope, New Fears, looks at significant events that took place under former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh, and examines how the country dealt with those issues.
Mr Goh said, in his speech to more than 200 guests at the launch yesterday, that Singapore has "excellent" relations with India.
The attendance of PM Modi at the state funeral service of Singapore's former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, for instance, was testament to that.
India also declared a day of national mourning as a mark of respect to Mr Lee.
"Since our independence, we have remained steadfast partners of India," said Mr Goh.
"I continue to believe in the immense potential of India... To have a shining future, India must proceed steadily down the path of economic reform, development and modernisation."
Moving ahead, India should strive to be a "Global Manufacturer" in support of "Make In India"- a campaign launched to turn India into a manufacturing hub, said Mr Goh.
This will require India to enact strong economic reforms and link up with the rest of the world through global and regional trade agreements. India also has to be physically connected with the rest of the world through road, rail, sea and air.
Concluding his speech, Mr Goh said his wish is not just for India to rise but to also "take off and achieve sustained flight".
Referring to Mr Velloor as a "keen observer of events and a good narrator", he said the book "artfully captures the key political changes in India and conveys the country's growing optimism".
"Ravi, I hope you will write a sequel to India Rising. An apt title would be India Flying," he said.
Mr Velloor, an associate editor at The Straits Times, said he always knew he would write a book on India and the opportunity came when Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez proposed that he do so.
"Each chapter is self-contained," said Mr Velloor, 58, who has spent 36 years in journalism.
"I wrote it for a reader who has a general interest in India and is keen to know a bit more about it."
Held at The Pod at the National Library, the launch drew guests from Singapore Press Holdings as well as personal friends of Mr Velloor, among others.
They include Ambassador-at- Large Gopinath Pillai, chairman of the Institute of South Asian Studies, who has known Mr Velloor for about two decades.
"I look forward to reading his book... He is capable of deep analysis and he tells stories in an interesting manner," said Mr Pillai.
The State Bank of India, Singapore, sponsored the event while the National Library Board sponsored the venue.
•The book is published by Straits Times Press - the book publishing arm of Singapore Press Holdings - and is available at all major bookstores at $34.90 (including GST), as well as online at www.stpressbooks.com.sg