ESM Goh and Indian PM Modi reaffirm longstanding friendship

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong meets Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a visit to India on Dec 13, 2017. PHOTO: GOVERNMENT OF INDIA

NEW DELHI - Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday (Dec 13) during a working visit to India, in the latest exchange of high-level visits between the two countries.

Mr Goh called on Mr Modi at his residence, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a press statement on Thursday.

Mr Goh has known Mr Modi since he was the chief minister of the western state of Gujarat and has been an early champion of closer India-Singapore ties.

During their meeting, they reaffirmed the longstanding friendship and exchanged views on India's domestic reforms and global developments, the statement said.

A press statement from the Indian Prime Minister's Office also said that during the meeting, Mr Modi "warmly recalled their long association" and congratulated him on becoming the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy earlier this year.

Mr Modi, according to the release, also noted "that Singapore has a special place in India's Act East Policy, built on the foundation of strong India-Asean relationship". The Act East policy is India's outreach to its South-east Asian neighbours.

The Prime Minister credited Mr Goh as an early and strong advocate of Asean's engagement with India, according to the release.

Mr Goh also met Chairman of the 15th Finance Commission, Mr NK Singh, Vice-Chairman of the National Institution for
Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, Dr Rajiv Kumar, and business leaders from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the MFA statement said.

Bilateral ties between Singapore and India have deepened on the back of a constant exchange of high-level visits.

Singapore has also continued to help India forge close ties with Asean and remains one of India's biggest foreign investors while Indian companies have often used Singapore as a base to expand globally.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen was in India last month (November) during which the two countries agreed to increase naval cooperation.

Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran also made a visit last month. One of his stops was Amaravati, the upcoming capital city of Andhra Pradesh which is being developed with Singapore's help.

Mr Modi, according to his office's press statement, "welcomed the momentum imparted by the exchange of several high-level visits between India and Singapore in recent years, and appreciated the strengthening of the bilateral relationship in all sectors, including Trade & Investment, Connectivity, and Defence & Security".

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