NEW DELHI - Singapore and the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh signed an agreement on Friday for collaboration across various sectors, including urban development and skills training.
Singapore is one of the partner countries, alongside others like Denmark and Japan, at the Uttar Pradesh Global Investors Summit 2023, which is being held in the state capital of Lucknow over three days till Sunday.
The event, which was inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is aimed at showcasing investment opportunities in the state.
Singapore’s Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations S. Iswaran said in an interview via e-mail: “We initiated the idea of this memorandum of understanding (MOU) as a way for the Singapore and Uttar Pradesh governments to better understand each other, our economies and companies, by working together on projects in mutually beneficial areas.”
The MOU was signed on the sidelines of the investor summit.
“To start, five areas have been identified, ranging from urban development, planning and development of sustainable industrial parks, upgrading and digitalisation of MSMEs (micro, small and medium-sized enterprises), skills upgrading for workers and capacity building for government officials,” said Mr Iswaran.
Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said one example of the cooperation is a pilot project introducing smart water technologies to cut costs and boost potable water supply in Kudha Keshavpur in Ayodhya district.
A Joint Partnership Committee led by senior officials on both sides will be formed to oversee the collaboration listed in the MOU.
While Uttar Pradesh is not a traditional partner of Singapore, Mr Iswaran noted that the Singapore Government “also recognises the potential of Uttar Pradesh”.
The state, ruled by Mr Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, has been making efforts to attract investment. Its Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has undertaken several reform measures, including the use of technology to improve the ease of doing business.
At the summit, Enterprise Singapore – which is leading a Singapore business delegation of 21 companies – oversaw the signing of six MOUs and pledges between Singaporean companies and the Uttar Pradesh government.
“Several Singapore companies are also looking to invest into Uttar Pradesh for the first time,” said Mr Iswaran, who is also Transport Minister.
He said that Sats, a leading provider of food solutions and gateway services in Asia, is keen to set up a central frozen food production plant in the Indian state, while CapitaLand – Asia’s largest real estate group – is exploring data centre and logistics opportunities in Noida city.
Meanwhile, furniture and accessories retailer and exporter Sam & Sara has pledged to look into setting up a furniture training centre in Uttar Pradesh. The Global Schools Foundation, a global not-for-profit chain of schools which established a school in the state in 2007, is exploring opening more institutes.
Logistics firm Transworld Terminals is looking to set up a multipurpose warehouse facility in Greater Noida. E-waste management service provider Vans Chemistry intends to set up an e-waste collection and pre-dismantling centre in the same city to serve as its main base in north India.
The MOUs will enable the six companies to further their project investments and capture growth opportunities in sync with Uttar Pradesh’s efforts to develop urban infrastructure and waste management capabilities, IT parks and data centres, as well as education, said MTI.
A total of 21 Singapore companies and 58 business delegates are expected to attend the summit, according to MTI.
CapitaLand is one of nine Singapore companies that are showcasing their solutions at the Singapore Pavilion at the event.
The cooperation with Uttar Pradesh is a part of the deepening economic cooperation between Singapore and India.
Bilateral trade in goods between the two countries touched $26.8 billion in 2021. Foreign direct investment equity inflows in India from Singapore during 2021 to 2022 stood at US$15.87 billion (S$21 billion).
“I am confident that both Uttar Pradesh and Singapore will learn much from each other through these initial partnership efforts, and thereafter expand our cooperation to cover more areas,” said Mr Iswaran.