President Halimah congratulates India's new President Murmu

India's new President Droupadi Murmu (left) with former president Ram Nath Kovind at the presidential palace in New Delhi on July 25, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - President Halimah Yacob has written a congratulatory letter to India's new President Droupadi Murmu and a valedictory letter to former president Ram Nath Kovind.

In her letter dated Monday (July 25) to Ms Murmu, Madam Halimah said: "Your Excellency's resounding victory is testament to the confidence and respect that you command amongst the people of India."

Ms Murmu, a former school teacher and state governor, was elected to the largely ceremonial position last week with 64 per cent of the vote by members of India's Parliament and state assemblies.

She was sworn in as India's president on Monday, making her the first person from one of the country's marginalised tribal communities to serve as head of state. Ms Murmu, 64, is from the Santhal tribe and was born in eastern Odisha state.

Madam Halimah said Singapore and India have been steadfast partners to each other, including throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, with the "robust relationship" anchored by close cooperation in areas such as defence, education, skill development and economic ties.

"India's growth story presents many opportunities to take this relationship to greater heights.

"In our role as country coordinator for Asean-India Dialogue Relations from 2021 to 2024, Singapore remains committed to working closely with India to enhance our Strategic Partnership," the Singapore leader wrote.

"Singapore also looks forward to supporting India's G-20 priorities, including in our capacity as convenor of the Global Governance Group," Madam Halimah wrote in the letter released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.

In her valedictory letter to Mr Kovind, 76, Madam Halimah congratulated him for successfully completing his five-year term. He was appointed as India's president in July 2017.

"Your Excellency has led India with a steady hand through one of the most difficult times of this generation. Despite the many setbacks of Covid-19, you provided the country with a sense of unity which was central to India's strength and resilience in overcoming these challenges.

"Your Excellency's commitment to uplift the lives of the people of India, especially the less privileged, also continues to inspire all," Madam Halimah wrote.

She noted that India and Singapore share a deep friendship that dates back centuries.

"This friendship will continue to be anchored by the shared commitment of our two countries to grow, prosper and navigate future challenges together," she said.

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