1/8/2018 12:52:41 PM
|written By : Team India Se|
Indian companies form the largest contingent in Singapore, having doubled from some 4,000 in 2009 to more than 8,000 today, ranging from large conglomerates such as the Tata Group to IT services companies such as Wipro and Infosys, said Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, speaking at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Singapore on January 7.
In comparison, more than 7,500 Chinese companies are registered in Singapore, almost double the number just five years ago.
Stressing the need for greater economic integration between India and the Association of Southeast Nations (Asean), DPM Teo said: “Singapore has played a key role in catalysing India’s engagement with Asean in the past 25 years, and we are uniquely positioned to facilitate even closer Asean-India relations.”
Recalling how Singapore helped India become part of the Asean community, he said India became Asean’s fifth dialogue partner in 1995 after this was proposed by Singapore’s then prime minister Goh Chok Tong at the 1994 Asean summit.
Trade between Asean and India has risen steadily from US$2.9 billion in 1993 to US$58.4 billion in 2016. But Asean-India trade accounted for only 2.6 per cent of ASEAN’s external trade in 2016 and there was room for further growth.
Calling for greater maritime and air connectivity to boost trade, he suggested India liberalise air services like Singapore.
India and Asean can cooperate in digital technologies, he said. “Whether it is public initiatives such as Aadhaar – India’s national digital identification system and UPI – the United Payments Interface, or private ventures such as PayTM, there are significant opportunities for these platforms to be harmonised with those in our region.”
As Asean chair this year, Singapore is committed to deepening ASEAN’s relations with its key partners, including India. “Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong looks forward to visiting India later this month for the Asean-India Commemorative Summit, which will be our Prime Minister’s first ASEAN-related Summit as 2018 Chair,” he said. “And we also look forward to the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Singapore later this year to deliver the keynote address at the Shangri-la Dialogue. This will be the first time the Shangri-La Dialogue will be addressed by an Indian Prime Minister.”