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India, Singapore Ties Witness Upward Trajectory In New Areas As Covid Situation Eases In 2022

New Delhi: The India-Singapore relations, which showed resilience amid global downturn due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic last year, made significant progress in new areas of cooperation like digital connectivity, fintech and green economy in 2022 with resumption of regular high-level in-person bilateral engagements.

The year started with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar meeting with his Singaporean counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan on the sidelines of the EU Ministerial Forum on Indo-Pacific on February 22 in Paris. Besides forum deliberations, the two leaders held parleys on travel resumption between the two nations, economic cooperation and regional developments.

The highlight of the year was the maiden India Singapore Ministerial Roundtable (ISMR) — a new high-level ministerial mechanism to chart a roadmap to take the bilateral ties to a new level, the Indian High Commission here said.

The forum explored opportunities for mutually beneficial collaboration given the rapidly evolving geopolitical developments in a post-COVID-19 recovery phase and ongoing supply chain disruptions.

The ISMR allowed in-depth, productive and wide-ranging discussions from a strategic and long term perspective on both existing and new areas of cooperation.

The focus on emerging areas such as digital connectivity, fintech, green economy, green hydrogen, skill development and food security provided an ambitious roadmap for further enhancement of the strategic partnership between India and Singapore.

Strengthening of bilateral cooperation in green economy, fintech and trade were also on the top of the agenda of discussion between the high-profile meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Bali on November 16.

The year 2022 also saw Singapore making efforts to strengthen India’s connection with the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) to further New Delhi’s Act East policy as well as the shared commitment to international law and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

ASEAN is an international organisation that has 10 member countries in Southeast Asia: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

India’s Act East Policy focuses on the extended neighbourhood in the Asia-Pacific region.

During his meeting with premier Lee on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Bali, Prime Minister Modi appreciated Singapore’s role in India’s Act East Policy and its role as the country coordinator of ASEAN-India relations from 2021-2024. Both leaders reiterated their desire for working together for furthering the India-ASEAN multifaceted cooperation.

In November, India and ASEAN countries vowed to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership and enhance cooperation against terrorism during the 19th ASEAN-India Summit held in Cambodia.

On the trade front, India and Singapore in 2022 continued their efforts to build an even stronger partnership.

As per official data, Singapore was India’s 6th largest trade partner in 2021-22 with a share of 2.9% of India’s overall trade. In 2021-22, the bilateral trade stood at USD 30.11 billion as compared to USD 21.98 billion during 2020-21.

In 2021-22, FDI inflows from Singapore to India stood at USD 15.87 billion. For the period between April 2022 and June 2022, the FDI inflows from the city-state stood at USD 5.68 billion. The cumulative outward Indian FDI to Singapore stood at USD 7.18 billion in 2020-21 and for the period April-October 2022, it stood at USD 3.1 billion.

The sphere of defence engagements between India and Singapore was also enhanced in 2022 with several bilateral and multilateral military exercises.

A 44-member IAF contingent presented India’s indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas to the city-state at the four-day Singapore Airshow held from February 15 to 18.

From February 25 to March 4, Singapore Navy participated in the 11th edition of MILAN, the multilateral naval exercise hosted by the Indian Navy. Ships, aircraft and participants from over 40 countries took part in the exercise held in Visakhapatnam and the Bay of Bengal.

Army chief Gen M M Naravane visited Singapore from April 4 to 6 and held talks with top Singaporean military leadership and discussed a roadmap to further enhance bilateral military cooperation, reaffirming their strong defence ties.

Following a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) resumed their joint military training in India. The 11th edition of the training, which first occurred in 2008, was held from November 3 to December 14.

Health, science and technology are the other areas of cooperation where India and Singapore made considerable progress in 2022. On January 15, Singapore Health Minister Ong Ye Kung and his Indian counterpart Mansukh Mandaviya agreed to continue to work on a stronger health care partnership.

Similarly, in February, India and Singapore signed an MoU on cooperation in science, technology, and innovation sectors at the inaugural session of the India-Singapore Technology Summit 2022.

The Summit — held virtually and co-organised by India’s Department of Science and Technology (DST), Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) — also saw the signing of an implementation agreement between DST and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) to bring together corporates and startups from both the countries to collaborate on developing new innovative technologies and solutions. 

(This report has been published as part of the auto-generated syndicate wire feed. No editing has been done in the headline or the body by ABP Live.)

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