Singapore and India yesterday pledged to strengthen cooperation in several key areas, a year after they upgraded the relationship to a strategic partnership.
These include skills training for India's youth to support its economic transformation, helping develop its smart cities, and expediting the ongoing review of a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement.
During their meeting, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Indian counterpart, Mr Narendra Modi, did a detailed review of the partnership, and agreed to appoint senior ministers to facilitate investment flows and deepen financial cooperation.
Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will discuss new and innovative ways for both countries to cooperate and find win-win outcomes.
"Singapore is a firm believer in India. We continue to contribute, where we can, to your remarkable development story," Mr Lee said at a joint press conference alongside Mr Modi.
"I look forward to India playing a growing role in the region because we believe your economy and your influence will continue to grow for many more years," Mr Lee added.
Trade and investment ties form the bedrock of the bilateral relationship, with Singapore being one of India's largest sources of foreign direct investment, and over 8,000 Indian firms present in Singapore.
Defence and security cooperation was also a key pillar of the partnership, Mr Modi noted.
"As two maritime nations, keeping the sea lanes of communication open, and respect for international legal order of seas and oceans, is a shared priority," he said.
And cooperation with Asean and participation at its meetings are "aimed at building an open and inclusive architecture for regional cooperation, in an atmosphere of trust and confidence", he added.
Both leaders also agreed to enhance cooperation against terrorism and in cyber security.
PM Lee is in India on a five-day working visit, and noted the growing optimism about its prospects.
He also called for greater air connectivity, saying it would "send a strong signal to the world that India is serious about attracting investment and businesses".
Yesterday, he and Mr Modi witnessed the exchange of three agreements: one on intellectual property and two on skills development.
The Institute of Technical Education Education Services will work with Assam state to set up a skills development centre for India's north- eastern states, as well as collaborate with India's National Skill Development Corporation on developing skills. "It is a follow-up to our strategic partnership and I hope it will play a useful role in India," Mr Lee said.
Singapore has set up a skills centre in Delhi and is helping to set up a centre of excellence for tourism training in Udaipur, Rajasthan, which Mr Lee will launch on Thursday (Oct 6).
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Correction note: The centre of excellence for tourism training in Udaipur, Rajasthan will be launched on Oct 6, not Oct 5.