8/18/2014 6:39:23 PM
|written By : Diya-Maya Tsering Bhalla|
India’s Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, was in Singapore on Saturday, August 16 for a hectic 24-hour visit. During her day here, Swaraj held talks with Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong and Minister for Foreign Affairs, K Shanmugam.
At a cultural event to honour her, Swaraj met members of the Indian community and gave a rousing speech in both English and Hindi. Breaking into Hindi after her speech in English, she spoke extempore and had the audience of eating out of her hands. Many had come early for the concert hoping to shake hands and take photographs with the first cabinet minister from the new Indian Government to visit Singapore.
During her talk she discussed India’s plan to build 100 ‘Smart Cities’, with help from Singapore which has built up considerable expertise in this sector. On its part, Singapore has expressed keenness to cooperate with India in specific areas where it has proven expertise such as water management and urban rejuvenation, she said.
In its budget, the new Indian government had proposed to develop 100 'smart cities' as satellite towns of larger cities and allocated Rs 7,060 crore for the ambitious project. The Government has proposed to develop the smart cities to take the load off from the mega cities.
If Singapore agrees to be a part of this challenging project the economic engagement with India will extend beyond defense and security cooperation.