S'pore and India discuss energy, food security at new forum

The high-level ministerial platform is a chance to take cooperation between Singapore and India to a new level, said DPM Wong. PHOTO: MCI

NEW DELHI - Singapore and India discussed a wide range of issues from food and energy security to green technology at a high-level ministerial roundtable on Saturday, with Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong describing the new platform as a chance to take cooperation to a new level.

DPM Wong, who is also Finance Minister, said of the inaugural India-Singapore Ministerial Roundtable: "Singapore and India share a strong bond built over 57 years of diplomatic relations, and longstanding historical, cultural and familial ties.

"Through this new ministerial platform, we seek to bring our bilateral relations to a new phase."

He was joined by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong, and Minister for Transport and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations S. Iswaran.

The Indian side was represented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.

Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Trade and Industry said yesterday that the leaders-led forum will allow the countries to explore beneficial opportunities, given "the rapidly evolving geopolitical developments in a post-Covid-19 recovery phase and ongoing supply chain disruptions".

"The ministers affirmed the longstanding and mutually beneficial relationship between India and Singapore, with deep reservoirs of strategic trust."

Singapore and India already have strong economic ties, which have deepened since both signed the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement in 2005.

Bilateral trade in goods between the two countries touched $26.8 billion last year, while Singapore's stock of direct investment abroad to India was $66.6 billion in 2020.

Singapore has also been instrumental in helping India deepen links with the Asean grouping.

The Indian Finance Ministry noted in a tweet that "both sides deliberated upon a wide range of issues", including financial sector operations, fintech and the economic arrangements between the two countries.

The ministers were also joined by industry leaders from both countries for a Business Roundtable.

Dr Jaishankar, who had served as high commissioner to Singapore, tweeted that he "appreciated their insights and ideas. Refreshing our relationship is truly a shared enterprise."

This is Mr Wong's first official visit to India as deputy prime minister. On Sunday, he will travel to the western state of Gujarat, where he will meet Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and visit Gujarat International Finance Tec-City, a central business district now under construction in Ahmedabad city.

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